The market for wood-burning stoves tends to follow the business cycle, with sales of capital items rising during times of prosperity. Consequently the economic turbulence of recent years has had a significant effect on demand in this market segment. But there are also other factors that impact on sales. These include not only energy prices and government energy policies, but also the weather, particularly during the autumn and winter. Most sales are made to home-owners and families with weekend cottages, but the proportion of sales related to new builds is rising steadily as more and more house-buyers opt for a wood-burning stove as a supplementary source of heat in their new home.
Thanks to the all-round breadth of its product range and its well established brands, NIBE Stoves is the undisputed market leader in Sweden. Our aim is to defend and strengthen this position through aggressive marketing and a steady stream of attractive new products.
The market abroad reflects the general state of the economy. In the Nordic countries, where a relatively large proportion of properties are heated by electricity, the price of electricity plays a key role in steering demand. Elsewhere in Europe, sales are affected to a much greater degree by gas and oil prices. In recent years burgeoning interest in renewable energy has become an important factor driving demand for wood-stove products across the continent.
Demand also varies from country to country in terms of product design, materials and technology. The Swedish market is dominated by lightweight stoves in steel plate with a sober design. Finnish consumers tend to favour heavier, heat-retaining stoves finished in stone or tiles, while the Norwegians have traditionally shown a preference for cast-iron models or cast-iron inserts with a masonry surround. In recent years, however, there has been a marked shift in taste in Norway: today metal-bodied stoves in less obtrusive designs account for an ever increasing share of sales.
Germans and Danes share basically similar tastes for lightweight, sheet metal stoves with sleek contemporary styling. Further south, in France and Italy for example, larger-bodied stoves with a stone or concrete surround predominate. Similar designs are also common in Eastern Europe and Russia. Pellet-fired stoves, which currently account for only a small portion of the total European market for solid-fuel stoves are a very large and consequently strategically important product segment in Italy.
Such marked differences in taste generally result from a specific style having been established in a market by one or more domestic manufacturers. In recent years, however, more and more markets have begun to show a much greater willingness to accept products with a more international appeal, including those from foreign manufacturers.