The French air-conditioning market, part of the broader thermal and air-conditioning equipment sector, is enjoying significant growth, with a 24% increase in sales. The market faced a sharp slowdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, as revealed by declines of 20% and 27% in March and April 2020 compared with the previous year. Despite this, it appeared to recover rapidly, with August 2020 figures exceeding those of the previous year, although the longevity of this rebound remains uncertain due to the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. Demand for air conditioners in France rose by 34%, largely driven by wall-mounted, ducted and console technologies in the residential sector, and by DRV and chiller technologies in the commercial segment. The market is also responding to the latest trends, with an increasing number of connected and intelligent products on offer. The sector is heavily regulated by European directives on eco-design and energy labeling.

The main market players are multinational manufacturers such as the Vaillant Group and Daikin, as well as distributors and installers such as Saint-Gobain and the Hervé Group. Heat pumps, particularly air-to-air and air-to-water models, have become increasingly popular thanks to repeated heat waves and government support. The construction market had a dismal year in 2020, with a notable drop of over 22% in residential and non-residential housing starts, which could pose problems for future demand in the air-conditioning industry.

Analysis of the French air-conditioning market: Growth, trends and prospects

The French air-conditioning market is experiencing strong growth, particularly in the residential segment, mainly due to the increasing prevalence of wall-mounted systems, "ductable" technologies and console systems. The tertiary sector is also expanding, with technologies such as DRV and chillers gaining ground. A notable market development is the introduction of connected and intelligent air-conditioning products, enabling remote control via smartphones, reflecting the market's adaptation to technological advances. Overall demand for air conditioners in France has surged, illustrating the market's substantial appetite. Despite a period of contraction in sales, the upward trend resumed and continued.

This growth in demand can be attributed to a combination of factors, including recurrent heat waves, which are driving households and businesses to adopt air-conditioning systems, and the technological complexity of installations, which justifies more skilled labor and higher costs. Sales of heating and air-conditioning equipment rose by around 24%, indicating a prosperous sector. The heat pump segment, in particular, has made France a leading European market, with over one million heat pumps installed in 2019 alone, marking significant year-on-year growth of 32%.

Consumer confidence in heat pumps remains strong, with more than eight out of ten respondents expressing complete confidence in the system, signifying a positive outlook for market adoption. Nevertheless, despite the booming market, the air-conditioning industry is subject to the cyclical nature of climatic anomalies, with sales correlating directly with seasonal temperature fluctuations.

In terms of market structure, thermal and air-conditioning installation work is undergoing continuous expansion, with the number of establishments and the number of employees increasing by around 13% and 10% respectively. In particular, around a quarter of the workforce is concentrated in the Paris region, suggesting a correlation between market activity and the economic and demographic weight of the various regions.

Regulatory measures are having a significant impact on the market, with European directives on eco-design and energy labelling setting strict standards for the product offering. Financial incentives, such as the CITE tax reduction for air-to-water heat pumps and reduced VAT rates for ageing homes, also contribute to market dynamics by facilitating consumer purchases.

Sales channels include both direct sales from manufacturers to professionals and indirect sales via distributors.

The key players in the French air-conditioning market are pioneers and innovators: Pioneers and innovators

The French air-conditioning market reveals a wide range of influential companies that have contributed significantly to the growth of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) industry. These companies range from versatile manufacturers who have pioneered environmentally-friendly solutions, to distributors and installers who ensure that these innovations reach homes, offices and industries throughout France.

Manufacturers of air conditioning and heat pump solutions:

  • Vaillant Group: With a heritage spanning over 140 years, Vaillant Group has established itself as a venerable market leader, offering a wide range of heating, cooling and hot water solutions. It prioritizes energy efficiency and user-centered design, positioning itself as a preferred brand for environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Daikin: Renowned for its cutting-edge technology, Daikin is a global force in air conditioning, offering a range of products including air purifiers, heat pumps and commercial cooling units. Its products stand out for their innovation in energy-saving technologies and intelligent control systems.
  • Viessman: Specializing in residential and commercial HVAC systems, Viessman stands out for its commitment to sustainable development and high-efficiency products. Its portfolio includes solar energy systems, biomass boilers and state-of-the-art heat pumps.
  • Groupe Atlantic: French in origin, Groupe Atlantic has made a name for itself worldwide with its comprehensive range of heating, hot water and ventilation systems. The company is renowned for its tailor-made solutions designed to enhance comfort while optimizing energy consumption.
  • Ariston Thermo: Ariston Thermo has become synonymous with thermal comfort, offering reliable, user-friendly heating and hot water solutions that combine performance and ease of use.
  • BDR Thermea: A global name in the HVAC sector, BDR Thermea is known for its innovative heating products and services that meet a variety of market needs, from domestic to utility scale.
  • Systemair: This company has made a name for itself with ventilation products that focus on indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Its solutions are well suited to commercial buildings, industries and residential applications.
  • Lennox International: Committed to creating comfortable, energy-efficient environments, Lennox International manufactures heating and cooling equipment that combines durability and sleek design to meet the needs of a wide range of climates and building types.

Distributors of air-conditioning systems :

  • Saint Gobain: A giant in the building materials sector, Saint Gobain is extending its distribution network throughout Europe
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  • Number of pages : 30 pages
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  • Last update : 20/08/2022
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition of the air conditioning market in France

An air conditioner is a device that freshen the air . Air conditioners and heat pumps need to be brought closer together, as both units share the same operating principles. Heat pumps can be aerothermal, geothermal or hydrothermal. And, air conditioners can be designed as a special segment of heat pumps. Air conditioners are also well often reversible which makes them solutions for air cooling, but also for heating.

The global market for air conditioners grew by 14% between 2012 and 2018 China largely dominates this market with 40% of world demand . For its part, the French air-conditioning market is growing, with an 24% increase in thermal and air-conditioning equipment work between 2016 and 2019 . The residential segment is particularly dynamic driven by wall-mounted, "gainable" technologies and finally console systems. The tertiary segment is also growing, thanks in particular to GVRD and Chiller technologies.

The market for air conditioners is renewing itself and taking advantage of the latest technological developments applicable to many capital goods. Increasingly, the market is developing a offering of connected and intelligent products For example, it is possible to remotely control the air cooling system via a smartphone

It is also a highly regulated market, subject to the eU legislation in terms of eco-design and energy efficiency of the products offered for sale. Appliances must be clearly labeled and indicate their energy performance.

The main players in the market are manufacturers of air conditioning and heat pump solutions, such as Vaillant Group or Daikin, air conditioning distributors such as Saint-Gobain or Rexel and air conditioning installers such as Hervé Group or IDEX .

1.2 A dynamic global market

Request for air conditioners World, ****-****, in millions of units Source: ****

Global demand for air conditioners grew by **% between **** and ****. This last year *** million units were sold worldwide. Nevertheless, growth seems to be slowing down and it is possible that the market may begin to stagnate in the long term. However, ...

1.3 The French air conditioning and heat pump markets are growing

Growth of the air conditioning market

The air-conditioning market is accounted for by the INSEE nomenclature under the NAF code "**.**B Installation work for thermal and air-conditioning equipment", which lists the installation in buildings or other construction projects of the following elements:

heating systems (***) boilers, cooling towers non-electric solar collectors ventilation ...

1.4 The temporary impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the air conditioning industry

Turnover index for the installation of thermal and air-conditioning equipment France, Nov. **** - Oct. ****, in index base *** in **** Source: ****

While it was growing compared to the previous twelve months, the market for the installation of thermal and air-conditioning equipment collapsed between March and July ****. The decline was particularly marked in March ...

2 Demand Analysis

2.1 The building market, driving demand for air conditioners

**** is a black year for the building market with record declines of **.*% in residential and **.*% in non-residential. [***]

Housing starts in the new housing and new non-residential segments France, ****-****, in thousands Source: ****

The graph below shows a new housing market that has been barely showing signs of recovery since **** and is ...

2.2 High consumer confidence

Overall, heat pumps are among the renewable energies most requested by the French when asked about their level of confidence, with more than * out of ** respondents having full confidence in this system according to a survey conducted by OpinionWay .

French confidence in renewable energies, by energy source France, ****, in % Source: ****

Percentage ...

2.3 A market buoyed by heat waves in France, but subject to the cyclicality of climatic hazards

According to Le Parisien The sale of air conditioners in France is correlated with the explosion of heat waves in France during the summer: "since the big heat wave in ****, there has been an explosion in demand from private individuals" explained the manager of Clim Denfert in ****.

We also notice thanks ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A growing market

Établissements et effectifs des travaux d'installation d'équipements thermiques et de climatisation France, ****-****, en milliers Source: ****

Le marché des travaux d'équipements thermiques et de climatisation poursuit son expansion année après année. En effet, le nombre d'établissements et les effectifs ont crû respectivement de **% et **% sur ...

3.2 Segmentation of the air conditioning and heat pump markets

An air conditioning market segmented between residential and tertiary sectors

The residential customer segment is growing

According to XPAIR Council In the residential customer segment, growth of **% in **** was driven by indoor units (***).

According to the same source, monosplits account for ¾ of the demand with ***,*** units sold compared to ¼ of the ...

3.3 Digitalisation et canaux de ventes directs et indirects du marché


Les principaux producteurs du marché sont Groupe Atlantic, Ariston Thermo, BDR Thermea, Bosch, UTC, Vaillant Group, Viessmann, Systemair et Lennox International.  De plus, le processus de production se digitalise énormément avec un appel croissant aux outils numériques pour concevoir les pompes à chaleur via une modélisation préalable, ...

3.4 Direct and indirect market sales channels

There are two distribution circuits for heat pumps as well as radiators and boilers. Equipment manufacturers can choose between direct and indirect sales:

Direct sales: the commercial subsidiaries of the manufacturers sell directly to building and public works professionals who themselves sell the heat pumps to potential customers (***). Indirect sales: dealers ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Three distinct price ranges for heat pumps

As stated earlier, there are different models of heat pumps

The traditional air-to-air aerothermal heat pump (***) and transfer it to another space. This model of heat pump is simple to install and integrates perfectly with traditional heating systems. Prices for this product range from **** € to ***** € including installation. According to aDEME a ...

4.2 Slightly decreasing prices, but varying according to the ranges

According to Le Parisien A basic air conditioner model costs €*** in ****. This model plugs into the mains and must be located near a window to evacuate the hot air to the outside through a hose.

According to the same source, a silent mobile air conditioner costs between €*** and €*,***. These models are ...

5 Regulation

5.1 A highly regulated market

A market subject to European directives

In ****, new European directives on eco-design and energy labelling have been implemented (***)

The EU Eco-Design Directive deals with all products that use energy to encourage consumers to buy more energy-efficient appliances. It gives a list of criteria that must be met when buying a product ...

List of charts

  • Répartition géographique de la demande de climatiseurs
  • Global air conditioning market
  • Prévisions de la part des pompes à chaleur dans la consommation d'énergies renouvelables en usage direct dans le résidentiel
  • Chiffre d'affaires des travaux d'équipements thermiques et de climatisation
  • Demande pour les climatiseurs
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Latest news

Decarbonization: Idex goes on the offensive - 18/12/2023
  • Idex currently boasts sales of 2.3 billion euros, with EBITDA of around 150 million euros.
  • Idex aims to double its EBITDA within five years.
  • A competitor, Coriance, number four in the French heating network market with sales of 350 million euros, also claims to have the ambition to double in size by 2030.
  • According to Benjamin Fremaux, President of the Idex Group, the heating network market now receives around a dozen bids a year, compared with two or three a few years ago.
  • Idex already has 18,000 buildings in its portfolio.
Energy: Atlantic ready to step up heat pump production - 17/10/2023
  • Atlantic plans to start up its third PAC production plant in 2025 in Chalon-sur-Saône.
  • The new plant's production target is 180,000 units by 2028, double the Group's current output.
  • The Group has 31 industrial sites, 15 of which are located in France.
  • Products based on this technology account for 30% of the Group's sales of over 3 billion euros.
  • The breakdown of Group sales is: 45% electric, 25% gas and 30% heat pumps
  • The Group's objective is to increase sales of this technology to 50%.
Atlantic chooses France for new heat pump plant - 14/10/2023
  • The Atlantic Group is France's number-one heat pump manufacturer, with sales of 3.2 billion euros.
  • It has 31 industrial sites and employs 13,000 people.
  • The Atlantic Group is building a new factory in Chalon-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire.
  • Production is scheduled to start in 2025, with full capacity in 2028.
  • The plant will manufacture 180,000 units per year.
  • Government target of tripling the number of heat pumps manufactured in France to 1 million by 2030.
Hervé Thermique deconstructs hierarchical management in the construction industry - 04/08/2023
  • Hervé Thermique , company specializing in HVAC, electrical engineering and building energy management
  • Number of employees: 2,500.
  • Number of branches: 65
  • Sales: 408 million euros by 2022
  • Founded: 1972
Rexel acquires Dutch heat pump specialist - 01/06/2023
  • Rexel acquires Wasco (number two in heating and air-conditioning products and services in the Netherlands)
  • Wasco enterprise value: 485 million euros
  • Wasco sales: 540 million euros over one year to end April 2023
  • Rexel has identified 4 levers to accelerate growth: heat pumps, photovoltaics, charging stations for electric vehicles, industrial automation
  • Rexel sales in 2022: €18.7 billion (+14%)
  • Rexel net income in 2022: 912 million euros, up 59% year-on-year
  • Rexel employs 26,000 people in 21 countries
Viesmann: "We need transatlantic partnerships more than ever" - 22/05/2023
  • Group's core business (85% of sales) sold to Carrier
  • After the merger of the climate solution division with Carrier, the Viessmann Group will still generate sales of around one billion euros and employ almost 4,000 people
  • Viessmann becomes Carrier's largest individual shareholder with over 7% of the capital.
  • Agreement excludes all redundancies for three years and guarantees the maintenance of the main sites for at least five years.
  • Global competitors 200 to 300 times larger than Viessmann.
  • Energy-intensive German industry weakened by the energy crisis.
  • Competitive disadvantage between electricity prices for industry in France and Germany.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Ariston Thermo
BDR Thermea (De Dietrich, Remea, Baxi)
Daikin (France)
Lennox International
Saint-Gobain Quartz
Hervé Thermique groupe
Atlantic Groupe
Vaillant Group (Saunier Duval)

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