Homeowner buying behaviour in 2021

When it comes to choosing a new heating source, consumers can choose from numerous system types and ranges of efficiency.  A recent consumer survey involving a total of 3000 participants in Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria and Poland (M. Elsen, K. van den Akker, R. van Giesen, 2021, Consumer study on purchase decisions regarding heating appliances) sought to establish what makes people buy the product they do – and the results highlight some interesting trends relevant for all of us involved in the industry.

Insights into buying behaviour 

The results concerning general buying behaviour showed that around 73% of homeowners who replaced an appliance, bought the same type again. Of these boilers, 87.1% used the same energy source as the previous boiler and almost 54% of purchasers replaced a non-condensing boiler with a condensing boiler.

Just over ha If said they'd considered other types of heating appliances before they made the purchase and around 43% said they did not consider other forms as they were not suited to their home. Of the respondents, 33.3% who bought a boiler also considered a heat pump.

Interestingly, a round 26% of those surveyed had decided to buy a new appliance even though the current one was still operational. As well as this, the survey discovered that 30.3% of the appliances replaced were less that 10 years old. 

Key reasons for purchasing

Overwhelmingly, the reasons for replacing current appliances concerned heating costs and environmental concerns at 54.1% and 64.3% respectively. The four top-of-mind considerations when selecting a replacement were energy consumption, running costs, energy class/efficiency and purchase and installation costs. Remote access, new technologies and smart home integration also featured as considerations with relatively high scores.

Respondents used energy labels to ensure they bought an energy-efficient solution, with 74.3% saying labelling played a role in the process and 64.6% purchased an appliance of a higher energy class.

Research and influence

As for online research, 55.6% of respondents used the Internet to investigate options, while 72.6% asked their installer for advice. Of these, 51.5% followed their installers advice to some extent and 44.8% followed it completely. So, it’s clear that even with instant access to a wealth of information online, the role and influence of installers in the decision-making process cannot be overestimated.

In summary, we can see that consumers buy the same type of appliance they already have, even if they’ve considered others during the process. They are concerned about energy efficiency, running costs and the effect of the system on the environment. And, while they do research online, they predominately follow their installer’s advice. 

Learn more about the survey and its results by downloading the report below.