14. Mrz 2017

The German sanitary market: Bathroom business flourishing

Sanitary industry remains optimistic / Positive factors greater than risks / 2016: Seventh consecutive increase in turnover / 28% growth since 2009 / “Solid start“ to this year / To convince consumers / Specific competences and favourable indications from survey / Bathrooms: Germans are investing and renovating

The sanitary industry can justify raising its hopes that the upward trend that has continued since 2009 will carry on into 2017. According to a new prognosis by the ifo-Institut, turnover of the economic sector, which is characterised by SMEs, should increase by approx. 2% to over 24.5 billion EUR. It’s true that the “considerable global political and economic risks and imponderables represent a currently unpredictable load factor”, but specific indicators such as the strong growing number of German private households and the unchanged positive home building prospects justify a “substantiated optimism”. This applies equally to the short, medium and long term, according to the statement at the leading “ISH” trade fair hosted in Frankfurt in mid-March.

For 2016, the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) reported a sales turnover increase of 4% to 23.9 billion EUR based on the latest ifo estimation. In comparison to export turnover, which has increased by 5.1% to 4.1 billion EUR, domestic business has developed a little more weakly with + 3.7% to 19.8 billion EUR. Jens J. Wischmann explained that this means the industry is looking back on its seventh consecutive year of growth. According to the managing director of the umbrella association for industry, specialised wholesale trade and the skilled crafts and trade, sales turnover has climbed continually since 2009 (18.7 billion EUR) by a total of almost 28%. As a result, a domestic increase of a good 26% is compared with an overseas increase of almost 37%.

The employment level also benefited from the persistently positive sector economy again in 2016, as in previous years. According to ifo, the number of jobs increased to 504,000. The increase of 3,000 within the annual period is accounted for exclusively by the trade. Nevertheless, an acute lack of skilled workers is causing anxiety, meaning the priority is intensive efforts to acquire qualified new trainees. According to an estimate, the number of companies in house and building technology dropped slightly in 2016 to around 51,500. The trade alone contributes over 50,000 companies to this.

Wischmann described the start to this year as “solid”, referring to the results of the monthly ifo business barometer. For February, they showed a business climate value of + 27%. With a growth of +43%, companies assessed the current situation to be better than the expectations (+12%). Therefore, the trend that has been seen for some time continues.

Bathroom purchases are the clear number 1

And in the future, it is essential for the three-stage professional community to focus consistently on what they themselves can influence. For this reason, priority goes to the task of convincing consumers of the integral product and service quality. There is no shortage of competence themes to get to grips with here. Examples of this are individualisation, demographic change, health, sustainability and drinking water hygiene.

In addition, there is no lack of favourable data. This is currently highlighted by a study carried out by the Ipsos-Institut for the Fachschriften-Verlag. Among other things, it included 11.2 million renovators in Germany, who want to invest in their property before 2018. First and foremost, this applies to the bathroom. According to the survey, it is actually “in a league of its own” with a proportion of 38%. With interior doors (17%), shutters / blinds (16%) and kitchen cabinets and appliances (16% and 15%), the runners-up don’t even muster half of the bathroom renovation statistic. For Wischmann, “this impressive result [confirms] once again how much importance people now assign to their bathrooms for their personal well-being.”

Expected home owner dominance

Furthermore, a forsa survey instigated by the sanitary industry provides “powerful momentum”. As reported, the market and opinion research asked almost 2,000 citizens aged 18 and above in November 2016 about their bathroom renovations. The survey is thereby representative for over 61 million Germans and shows that 52% or 32 million people are homeowners and 48% or 29.5 million people are tenants.

According to the study, a total of 17% of German citizens have either completely (12%) or partially (5%) renovated their bathrooms since 2012. The criterion for partial renovation was defined as replacing at least basic objects such as the washbasin, bathtub, shower or toilet. As expected, the homeowner proportion (17%) is considerably higher than the corresponding tenant proportion (6%) in terms of complete renovations. On the other hand, the difference is noticeably lower when it comes to partial renovations (6% vs. 4%).

In general, the East German population like to make changes more than those in the West of the nation (20% vs. 16%). In addition, specific phases of life seemed to affect modernisation work differently. According to the study, the under-30s and the 60+ generation were both particularly active, with 18% each. The zest for building and renovation was lowest in the “30 to 44 year old group”.

“Outdated” priority

The umbrella association for the sanitary industry derive a “further indication of the ever-increasing importance of the bathroom” from the research about when exactly renovations took place. Because: Research showed that the modernisation intensity has increased “significantly” since 2014 with quotas between 23% and 25%. The lowest proportion arose in 2012 (10%).

Finally, forsa investigated the hit list of crucial renovation motives. The undisputed leader with 45%: Outdated bathroom fittings (in every sense). Outdated tiles (16%) and “bathrooms that are not age-appropriate / accessible” (11%) are ranked in positions 2 and 3. It is no surprise that the latter was the deciding factor for 19% of the “60+” group. The ranking of important reasons also showed a lack of “feel-good atmosphere” (8%) and general house renovations and necessary repairs (7% each). Dissatisfaction with the room layout, the size and lack of mobility, shower and storage also prompted Germans to bid farewell to their existing bathrooms. Wischmann is convinced that these aspects will also “ensure strong modernisation and, thus, demand impulses” in the future as well.


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Despite “considerable global political and economic imponderables”, the sanitary industry believes that its upward trend, now unbroken since 2009, will also remain stable in 2017. At the “ISH”, the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) reported the seventh consecutive nominal sales turnover increase for 2016, rising by about 4% to 23.9 billion EUR, based on the latest ifo estimation. The umbrella association believes there will be further strong demand impulses due to the growing renovation intensity, especially in the private bathroom sector.
Photo: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS)

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According to the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS), the latest studies also emphasise the favourable conditions of the bathroom industry. This is confirmed by a representative Ipsos study, among other things. According to this, private renovators, in particular, want to invest in their bathroom furnishings before 2018.
Graphic: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS)  

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According to a current, representative forsa study, a total of 17% of German citizens have either completely (12%) or partially (5%) renovated their bathrooms since 2012. As the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) explains, one of the core results of the survey, carried out at their instigation, is that renovations are carried out by homeowners in particular.
Graphic: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS)   

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The number of renovations in the bathroom sector has increased significantly since 2014. The forsa Institute identified this in a new representative survey. According to the Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS), this expresses the “ever-increasing importance of the bathroom” among the population.
Graphic: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS)   

Image 3153
By far, the (in all senses) outdated bathroom is the most important reason that Germans carry out renovations. This was proven by a new forsa survey of homeowners and tenants who have completely or partially modernised their existing bathrooms since 2012. The Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS) refers to the fast-growing demand in this segment as results show that equipment that was “not age-appropriate / accessible” was the crucial factor for 11% of those asked.
Graphic: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitaerwirtschaft (VDS)



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