While the brand is what counts in Austria and safety is the main factor in Germany, Polish buyers are especially interested in innovations, although this may seem surprising. This information is based on a survey of 500 homeowners from Germany, Poland, France, Austria and Great Britain.
Brand Awareness Highest in Poland
There are big differences in Europe when it comes to the importance of window brands. Poland is the country in which brands play the biggest role. Oknoplast, Drutex & co. have managed to create a brand awareness, achieving a free recall of 16% – 32%. The brand per se is also an important reason for purchase in Poland. Austria is similar, with Internorm and Josko performing just as well with free recall values around 20-30%. The situation is quite different in Germany, where the top window brands are experiencing a low-single-digit free-recall, while Velux (a roof-top window manufacturer) and Schüco (a system supplier) have reported significantly higher values.
Bargain Hunters Dominate the German Market
There are also European differences when it comes to reasons for purchase and price sensitivity. Germany has the largest share of „bargain hunters“ at 35%. Here, the window buyers are often focused on discounts, they compare prices and are not willing to pay more for brands. France, however, is the opposite, boasting 35% high-priced window buyers. These customers are enthusiastic about innovations and like to pay more if the product meets their high requirements. The distribution across buyer types varies greatly in each of the countries studied.
Wooden Windows Fail to Retain Customers
The Interconnection window study also examined window materials across homes. PVC is the most commonly used frame material among homeowners and is the most popular in all countries studied. Overall, homeowners are satisfied with plastic windows and are barely willing to switch to another material. The willingness to change is 15% lower than with any other material. Wooden windows paint an entirely different picture. Across Europe, home owners with wooden windows were extremely happy to switch to another material: between 53% and 67% of the owners of wooden windows would opt for another material at the next purchase, preferably PVC. The main reason for this trend is the high maintenance wooden windows require. Furthermore, it seems wooden windows have not (yet) benefitted from the new ecological and climatic awareness.
Online Affinity Highest in Poland
Poland boasts a particularly high use of online channels for window- research and purchases. 75% of Polish buyers use online resources, such as manufacturer- or retailer-websites, to inform themselves about brands and products before buying their windows. Poland is also the country with the most online window-purchases in Europe. By contrast, window buyers from France show the least willingness to purchase windows directly online.
No Such Thing as the „European Window Buyer“
The international differences in the buying behavior of window buyers will remain relatively stable over the next few years. If you want to be successful in the European window market, you should be aware of the different purchasing habits and align your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.