More manufacturers than ever before launched their latest products onto the world market during ISH 2015, an international trade fair designed to showcase innovative bathroom design, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning technologies, and renewable energies, held in March at the Fair and Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt am Main.

This year, 2,465 manufacturers participated in the event as 198,000 visitors flocked to see the latest trends and technical innovations.

ISH truly is a global event as 61 percent of exhibitors and 37 percent of visitors travelled from outside of Germany to attend the event.

“We are delighted with the exceptional success of ISH 2015, and these excellent figures underscore the positive mood in the sector,” said Wolfgang Marzin, president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “Moreover, with growth in the number of international exhibitors and visitors, the fair has confirmed its leading international role.”

Industry Trends

This year’s gathering focused on the latest industry trends, including horizontal and vertical aspects of future-oriented building solutions with the extensive range of products and services to be seen.

The ISH water section was characterized by sustainable sanitation solutions for individual user requirements arising from the process of demographic change, as well as by innovative water management and drinking-water hygiene. On the energy side, the focus was on energy efficiency as the second pillar of the new energy paradigm — the shift away from nuclear power. Modern HVAC technologies have a huge potential for cutting energy consumption and represent an important step on the path to achieving climate targets. For example, simply replacing inefficient heating systems with new ones could save as much as 15 percent of the energy consumed in Germany.

Under the motto “Comfort Meets Technology,” ISH 2015 showed how Europe can reduce existing dependencies through energy-efficient products and the use of renewable energies.

“ISH 2015 was very good in terms of visitor numbers,” noted Manfred Greis, president, BDH. “The German heating industry presented a host of innovations, which are sure to play an important role with respect to improved energy efficiency over the coming years, such as hybrid heating systems that use at least two sources of energy like heat pumps in combination with gas or oil. The fuel cell and gas heat pump supplemented the portfolio at ISH. Another ISH theme of particular importance to the German heating industry is linking heating systems to the Internet and IT [information technology] solutions for controlling and monitoring these systems. ‘Connectivity’ is the buzzword, and there is a large variety of different solutions granting users greater control over heating technologies via mobile devices.”

Ratings on the Rise

The high propensity to order and the number of new contacts ensured a high degree of satisfaction on the exhibitor side of the event. Already high, the overall rating rose 4 percent to 84 percent. Equally well rated, with 84 percent, was target achievement at the fair. In the case of international exhibitors, the marks for target achievement and overall ratings were equally good at 85 and 83 percent, respectively, and represent an increase of four percentage points in each case.

The positive mood at the fair was also reflected by the opinions voiced by many exhibitors.

“Altogether, we are very pleased with ISH,” said Dirk Gellisch, board of management, Viega GmbH & Co. KG. “The proportion of international visitors rose substantially, especially from Asia. The focus of interest was on new products, such as our new pipework systems that can be used quickly and without difficulty on-site. New front-wall elements for individually adjusting the height of WCs and washstands also attracted great attention as design-oriented solutions for cross-generation bathroom architecture.”

The high level of internationality at the fair was also emphasized by Thomas Borst, sales and marketing director, ebm-papst. “ISH and, therefore, Frankfurt as the venue have proven their worth to the industry because two sectors — air-conditioning technology and heating technology — are to be found there at the same time and place. We are very pleased with the course of business at ISH 2015 as well as with the standard of the discussions. And, this includes international discussions, because every second visitor to our stand came from outside of Germany.”

Martin Zährl, head of the German division of the control products and systems business unit of Siemens Building Technologies, praised the numerous business contacts made.

“This year’s ISH was a complete success for us with intensive discussions and enthusiastic customers, journalists, and stand personnel,” he said. “We welcomed many international visitors, for example, from Germany, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and showed them our products, systems, and solutions, which create an optimum balance between comfort, sustainability, and productivity in buildings. We’re already looking forward to coming back in two years.

“The satisfaction level reflected by the visitor poll at the fair was even more impressive, with an overall rating of 97 percent. Moreover, 97 percent said they had achieved their objectives for the fair. Accounting for around one-third of total attendance, the largest group of visitors came, as usual, from the sanitation, heating, and air conditioning installation trade. Thus, around 63,000 trade visitors were craftspeople — a very large number that underscores the significance of the fair for the installation trade and its position as the world’s leading trade fair for the sector. Also striking is the high visitor standard with 61 percent of the visitors polled saying they hold managerial positions.”

Economic Outlook

In Germany, the sanitation, heating, and air conditioning industry; wholesale trade; and installation trade generated a consolidated turnover of €52.3 billion, which represents growth of 2 percent. Domestic turnover amounted to €43.2 billion. Thus, the sector was able to maintain the solid rate of growth achieved in previous years. At the same time, the number of companies remained constant at 51,316. Additionally, the upwards trend in the number of employees continues, especially in the installation trade. Altogether, the primarily small to medium-sized companies in the building-services trade employed 509,000 people in 2014 — around 8,000 more than in 2013.

According to initial estimates by the Institute for Economic Research, total turnover in the sector is expected to rise by around 2 percent in 2015, whereby exports are likely to increase slightly more than domestic sales. As in 2014, sales in the sanitation segment will increase somewhat more than those in the heating field. In the latter case, however, export sales can be expected to grow more rapidly.

ISH exhibitors also see the economic outlook in a positive light with 86 percent rating the economy as satisfactory to good. Among German exhibitors, the figure was even higher at 93 percent. In both cases, the figures represent an increase of 2 percent over the previous year while visitors take an even more positive view of the economic perspectives. About 90 percent of all visitors polled and 94 percent of German visitors said the outlook is satisfactory to good.

“Under the Comfort meets Technology  motto, this trade fair once again demonstrated that innovative product presentations for water, heat, and air form a unique framework for many trade visitors — especially those from the sanitation and HVAC installation trade — and interesting discussions on a very high plane,” said Manfred Stather, president, ZVSHK. “The sanitation and HVAC installation trade is future-oriented. With practical examples, expert discussions, and interviews on, as well as with special exhibitions and competitions to promote innovativeness, we left no doubt why the sanitation and HVAC installation trade will play a vital role in Germany’s future.”

The next ISH will be held March 14-18, 2017 in Frankfurt am Main. For more information, visit

Information provided courtesy of Messe Frankfurt Inc., a worldwide trade show organizer. For more information, visit

Publication date: 5/11/2015

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