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World domestic boiler market showing some growthMay 2006

World Market Overview

The total world domestic boiler market was estimated at US$ 10.9 billion and 10.46 million units in 2005 and expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next few years. The UK is still the biggest market in both value and volume terms, followed by South Korea and Italy.

Growth rates vary significantly between countries, with smaller markets generally offering higher growth potential. These are found in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, with double-digit growth forecast in Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Turkey up to 2010. The growth expected in these markets occurs from a low base.

China with its booming economy is set to grow at a rate of almost 7% a year. Mature markets such as the UK and Germany are expected to decrease very slightly over the next few years.

The relation of the individual market segments is going to change over the forecast period.
Wall hung non-condensing boilers, which represent about 50% of the total market in volume, are expected to show decline over the next years. Condensing boilers on the other hand, are going to grow rapidly. They are growing at a rate of over 15% per year. The share of condensing boilers on the total boiler market will rise from about 20% to 27% until 2010.

Floor standing gas atmospheric and pressure jet oil/gas are fairly stable overall. The combined solid fuel market shows annual growth of more than 4 percent.

In individual countries, solid fuel boilers show vigorous growth of more than 15 percent per year, namely in Switzerland, Romania and France where many wood fired boilers are sold. It should be noted that growth in the solid fuel market starts from a low base (about 3% of the total boiler market).

The wall hung condensing boiler market is highly concentrated. The UK represents close to 50 percent of the total market, followed by the Netherlands and Germany which account for 16 and 15 percent respectively. Thus, around 80% of the total condensing market is accounted for by just three countries. The next biggest markets are Japan, South Korea and Italy.

Supply structure

  • The domestic boiler market is highly regionalised with the major players generally only strong in their home continent. China is an exception because leading European brands such as Bosch, Buderus and Viessmann hold important market shares there.
  • Wall hung units are dominated by some nine major companies, although there are many more big brands used by these companies in individual countries.
  • Other markets such as the floor standing gas atmospheric and oil/gas pressure jet have become progressively more localised.
  • The Asia Pacific region has many huge domestic boiler manufacturers, who have a significant share of the world market but are only strong in their home country. The exception is Rinnai (Japan and China) and Kyungdong (Korea and China). North American boiler manufacturers are also confined to their own region, finding it difficult for existing products to conform with European regulations.

Individual country market features

Wall hung condensing boilers have experienced a dramatic increase in 2005 when they more than doubled in units sold. This expansion comes at the expense of equivalent non-condensing boilers. The reason for this shift is that building regulations have been inroduced in England and Wales requiring the installation of condensing boilers in all new and replacement situations where a gas-fired boiler is installed.

There is still a very strong installed base in the UK of houses with separate cold water tanks in the loft (attic) which supply both boilers and water heaters. The result is a whole array of unique products such as:

  • conventional boilers supplied from the tank in the loft
  • floor standing storage combination boilers designed on the 'heat store' principle with an inbuilt cold water supply tank.
  • so-called back boilers built into the backs of fires.

South Korea

  • The world's second largest market in volume and fourth largest in value
  • As well as the huge wall hung market, Korea is also easily the largest market for oil/pressure jet boilers, and totally dominates the world electric boiler market.
  • Domestic boilers are almost entirely used with underfloor heating (known as 'ondol' or the bottom piping market), used in 95% of homes. Korea is the world's number one market for underfloor heating by a huge margin. Boilers are not surprisingly also known as 'ondol' units and are almost entirely the combination type.


  • This market is very difficult to understand for outsiders and stands at around 400,000 units.
  • Boilers are regarded as part of the immense and highly sophisticated gas instantaneous market and are taking market share. The word 'boiler' confusingly applies to both markets.
  • Most boilers are the combination type and are used to supply underfloor heating (and are known as 'floor heating boilers') and also provide hot water to sinks and to the unique Japanese 'bath circulator'.
  • The products are very high quality with many unique features and importer technology will probably need to upgrade significantly in order to compete with local manufacturers.
  • Included in the figures above are the rapidly growing 'hot water room heaters' or a 'split' boiler system. This is a kerosene boiler sold with a matched fan convector, not dissimilar in appearance and arguably akin to an air conditioning split system. Indeed, "multisplits" are possible with multiple fan convectors. Fujitsu developed the concept and are market leaders.


  • The USA is dominated by ducted warm air furnaces with 3-4 million units typically sold per annum, with most domestic boilers confined to the north east of the country.
  • Despite the above trend, the USA is the world's second largest market for floor standing gas atmospheric and for oil/gas pressure jet boilers.


  • The third world's largest market by value, it is the world number one for oil/pressure jet and world number four for floor standing gas atmospheric.
  • German boiler manufacturers make boilers to a much higher specification than exports to other European countries, particularly for wall hung units.


  • France is the 4th largest market in the world by volume and 5th largest by value.
  • The balance of power between oil and gas is largely determined by the differential in fuel prices which is a political decision in France.


  • The market is still dominated by larger commercial/industrial boilers including those for district heating.
  • The market is forecast to experience strong annual growth of around 7% in volume.


  • With close to 400,000 units sold in 2005, the country has a very large market given its population size.
  • The Netherlands is the second largest condensing wall hung boiler market worldwide. The Dutch condensing boiler market by far exceeds the non-condensing boiler market.
  • The market is almost entirely gas, with hardly any oil found.

The new BSRIA study, the World Market for Heating, is available now, providing market statistics and analysis for domestic boilers, commercial boilers, water heating, radiators and underfloor heating across 39 countries.

For more information contact BSRIA:

Tel: +44 (0)1344 465600

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