Impact of gas prices on European households

In the last months of 2021, gas prices started rising rapidly in Europe and continued to do so. Since the Russian invasion in Ukraine at the end of February 2022, gas prices have increased even faster. These increased prices affect all markets and industries in some way, and the residential market is no exception. People who rely on gas to heat their houses will feel increased gas prices the most and may now consider changing to alternatives or at least improving the energy-efficiency of their house.

But how many people are relying on gas? And how worried are they about the future development of prices? To provide some clarity to any business involved in the residential market, we included questions on the impact of the war and rising gas prices in the research for USP Marketing Consultancy’s Q1 2022 European Home Improvement Monitor.      

European consumers most commonly use gas boilers for heating

We asked 6.617 consumers from 11 European countries what type of heating systems they have in their homes. It turns out that 21% of European consumers have electric heaters and 10% use heat pumps. Of all homes of consumers, 9% have a fireplace and another 9% use a wood-burning or pellet stove for heating. The most used heating system by far is the gas-fuelled boiler, which 41% of consumers report to have in their home.

So, four out of ten European consumers rely on gas for their heating, but there are vast differences between the eleven countries in the scope of this research. In Denmark, only 16% of consumers reported to have a gas boiler in their home, for instance. In Italy and especially the UK, however, the vast majority of consumers seem to rely on gas for their heating, as 78% and 83% have gas boilers respectively.

How worried are they?

We asked consumers who have a gas boiler and thus rely on gas for their heating how they expect gas prices to develop in the coming year. Clearly, the vast majority is quite pessimistic, as 80% expect gas prices to increase even more. In the UK, where consumers rely on gas for heating the most, 85% expect prices to continue to increase. Clearly, many consumers relying on gas are worried about rising prices. The question is whether these worries about gas prices will actually push consumers to take action and what those actions will entail.

Consumers may invest to improve insulation to save on gas by preventing heat loss or change to other heating systems entirely. For an overview of planned home improvement jobs of consumers in eleven European countries and of the impact of war and rising prices on their home improvement behaviour, we refer you to USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor. On top of these topics, the quarterly theme part of the Q1 2022 report focuses on media orientation of consumers, with a special focus on the rise of the digital native and new ways for inspiration and orientation for home improvement products.

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