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198,000 visitors, a new exhibitor record and a significant increase in the level of internationality at ISH 2015

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Top marks from exhibitors and visitors for the world’s leading trade fair for the combination of water and energy ISH presents a mirror image of positive developments in the sanitation, heating and air-conditioning sector

The world’s biggest trade fair for innovative bathroom design, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies once again gave an impressive demonstration of its leading position as the most important innovation platform for the sanitation, heating and air conditioning sector. All important indices rose and there were even new records for the number of exhibitors and exhibition space occupied.

On an area of around 260,000 square metres (2013: 258,500*), 2,465 manufacturers (2013: 2,436*), more than ever before, launched their latest products on to the world market. Around 198,000 visitors (2013: 187,579*), an increase of more than five percent over the previous event, made their way to the Fair and Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt am Main from 10 to 14 March 2015, to discover the numerous technical innovations and the latest trends. At the same time, ISH further extended its lead as the international meeting place for the sector with 61 percent of exhibitors (2013: 58 percent) and 37 percent of visitors coming from outside Germany (2013: 33 percent). “We are delighted with the exceptional success of ISH 2015 and these excellent figures underscore the positive mood in the sector”, says Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “Moreover, with growth in the number of international exhibitors and visitors, the fair has confirmed its leading international role.”

The claim of the ISH to be the world’s leading trade fair for the sector was substantiated by a 16 percent increase in the number of international visitors to 74,100 (2013: 63.985*) with the largest national contingents coming from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and China. Significant growth in visitor numbers from the USA, Great Britain and Ireland are also evidence of a noticeable economic recovery in important sanitation, heating and air-conditioning markets. Altogether, there were 618 new exhibitors at ISH 2015: 161 of them from Germany, 89 from Italy and 23 from Spain, which indicates a gradual market recovery.

ISH with subjects of topical interest to the sector including technological solutions, renewable energies and sustainable bathroom trends
The opening ceremony with Barbara Hendricks, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and Volker Bouffier, Minister President of the State of Hesse, and currently President of the German Bundesrat, underscored the significance for the world’s leading trade fair for important social issues.

ISH is the leading exhibition for sustainable sanitation solutions, innovative bathroom design and energy-efficient heating technologies in combination with renewable energies and environmentally friendly air conditioning, cooling and ventilation technology. This year, it once again brought together the sector’s most important subjects at the same time and place, and covered all horizontal and vertical aspects of future-oriented building solutions with the extensive range of products and services to be seen. “ISH is traditionally the first event of the year at which the entire sanitation, heating and air-conditioning sector comes together to launch its latest products. It is unrivalled in terms of product variety and the world’s biggest show of its kind. Accordingly, we are delighted with the further increase in the number of visitors from outside Germany, which confirms the great internationality of the fair”, says Wolfgang Marzin.

The ISH Water section was characterised 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, i.e., the shift away from nuclear power. Modern heating, air-conditioning, cooling and ventilation technologies have a huge potential for cutting energy consumption and represent an important step on the way 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.

Top marks from exhibitors and visitors

All participants gave top marks for the quality of the event. In particular, the high propensity to order and the number of new contacts ensured a high degree of satisfaction on the exhibitor side. Already high, the overall rating rose by four percentage points 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 rating 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. For example, Dirk Gellisch, Member of the Board of Management of Viega GmbH & Co. KG, said, “Altogether, we are very pleased with the ISH. 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 emphasised by Thomas Borst, Sales and Marketing Director of the ebm-papst Group: “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 Germany.”

Martin Zährl, Head of the German Division of the Control Products & 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. We welcomed many international visitors, for example, from Germany, Europe and Asia, as well as the Near and Middle East, and showed them our products, systems and solutions, which create an optimum balance between comfort, sustainability and productivity in buildings. We are already looking forward to coming back in two years.”

The level of satisfaction reflected by the visitor poll at the fair was even higher. The overall rating was 97 percent. Moreover, 97 percent said they had achieved their objectives for the fair. Accounting for around a third of the total, 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, which 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.

A very good economic outlook for the sector

The German sanitation, heating and air-conditioning sector is satisfied with business in 2014: together, the industry, wholesale trade and installation trade generated a consolidated turnover of € 52.3 billion (2013: € 51.3 billion), which represents growth of two percent. Domestic turnover amounted to € 43.2 billion (2013: € 42.3 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 (2013: 51,520) whereby artisan enterprises account for by far the biggest share with 50,350 firms. 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 Ifo Institute for Economic Research, total turnover in the sector is expected to rise by around two 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: 86 percent rated it as being satisfactory to good. Among German exhibitors, the figure was even higher at 93 percent. In both cases, the figures represent an increase of two percent over the previous year while visitors take an even more positive view of the economic perspectives: 90 percent of all visitors polled and 94 percent of German visitors said that the outlook is satisfactory to good.

Partner Country Poland and an extensive programme of events

Particular emphasis at this year’s ISH was given to Poland, the first Partner Country of the world’s leading trade fair for the sector. Poland and Germany are important trading partners with a cross-border exchange of knowledge that is of inestimable value for both sides. And this is particularly true of the energy and sanitation sectors. Thanks to the Partner Country concept, many new business contacts were made and German-Polish trade relations intensified. At the same time, the number of Polish exhibitors rose from 64 to 93 with 39 first-time exhibitors. The number of Polish visitors rose by 15 percent to almost 3,000. “Poland’s participation as the Partner Country of ISH 2015 is an impulse for making new business contacts and intensifying German-Polish trade relations. As in the past, our priorities include the modernisation of the energy sector, diversification of energy supplies, expansion of the transport infrastructure, environmental technology and the promotion of entrepreneurial activity”, said Janusz Piechociński, Deputy Minister President and Minister for Economics of the Republic of Poland.

Numerous lectures in the ISH programme of events also revolved around this year’s Partner Country, its innovations and developments in the sector. Additionally, many of the events focused on top themes. In the ISH Energy section with the motto ‘Energy Efficiency Plus’, the new eco labelling was explained in lectures and on presentation boards, e.g., at the Technology and Energy Forum and the Climate Forum. In the ISH Water section with the motto ‘Interior + Technology – Design and Function in Harmony, the spotlight was on the cross-generation bathroom at, for example, the ‘Pop up my bathroom’ and ‘Bathroom of the Future’ special shows. Thus, the focus of ISH was not only on subjects of topical interest to the sector but also on important social issues.

The five ISH conceptual partners – the Central Association of Sanitation, Heating and Air-Conditioning (Zentralverband Sanitär Heizung Klima – ZVSHK), the Federal Industrial Association of Germany House, Energy and Environmental Technology (BDH), the Association of the German Sanitation Industry (Vereinigung der Deutschen Sanitärwirtschaft e.V. – VDS), the Building Climate Institute (Fachinstitut Gebäude Klima e.V. - FGK) and the Association of the German Central Heating Industry (Vereinigung der deutschen Zentralheizungs-Wirtschaft e.V. - VdZ) – were very pleased with the results of the fair.

Manfred Stather, ZVSHK President

“Comfort meets Technology – under this motto, the world’s leading trade fair for the sector once again demonstrated that innovative product presentations for water, heat and air form a unique framework for very many trade visitors, especially those from the sanitation, heating and air conditioning installation trade, and interesting discussions on a very high plane. ‘We are future-oriented: the sanitation, heating and air conditioning installation trade’ is our motto for meeting the mega challenges of energy and demographic change. 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, heating and air-conditioning installation trade will play a vital role in Germany’s future.”

Manfred Greis, BDH President

“ISH 2015 was very good in terms of visitor numbers and standard. 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, e.g., hybrid heating systems that use at least two sources of energy, such as heat pumps in combination with gas or oil. The fuel cell and gas heat pump supplement the portfolio at ISH. Another ISH theme of particular importance to the German heating industry is linking heating systems to the internet and IT solutions for controlling and monitoring these systems. ‘Connectivity’ is the buzzword and there is nowadays a large variety of different solutions that give users greater control over heating technology via mobile devices. The presence of top politicians with Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and Volker Bouffier, Minister President of the State of Hesse and President of the German Bundesrat, as well as a delegation of 25 high-ranking civil servants, underscored the great significance of energy efficiency. At Aircontec, the world’s market leaders presented efficient air-conditioning technology and innovations for ventilation systems combined with heat recovery.”

Hartmut Dalheimer, VDS Chairman

“The fair got off to a very good start with no late winter storms and with a lot of well-deserved attention from the world of politics and the press. The number of visitors and the atmosphere at the fair were also very good with the right mix of national and international visitors. ISH 2015 offered an opportunity unrivalled worldwide to see the entire spectrum of products and themes of the bathroom and sanitation sector. Once again, the fair demonstrated that it is a must for everyone wanting to discover the latest bathroom trends and innovations. Visiting ISH is also motivation for day-to-day bathroom sales in the showrooms of the retail and installation trades – now it is up to visitors to take this enthusiasm away with them and pass it on to their customers. All in all, this was an extremely successful and attention-grabbing ISH and a source of inspiration for playing an active role in the market.”

Prof Ulrich Pfeiffenberger, FGK Chairman

“ISH Aircontec 2015 lived up to its claim of being the world’s leading event for the sector in every respect. The number, standard and internationality of trade visitors left no doubt about the vital role played by the fair. Air-conditioning and ventilation technology was perfectly represented by the entire range of products and systems and showed how indoor air quality, comfort and energy efficiency in buildings can be achieved simultaneously in line with the ISH motto ‘Comfort meets Technology’. All Aircontec exhibitors were extremely satisfied with the fair.”

Hermann W. Brennecke, VdZ President

“This edition of the fair provided impressive proof that ISH is rightly known as the world’s leading trade fair for the sector. As in the past, the exhibitors presented innovative and market-ready technologies and solutions. And, thanks to the new Partner Country concept, the fair has become even more international. The new energy paradigm is emerging at the fair – and the heating market is making a significant contribution to it. As the umbrella association for the building-services sector, we were particularly pleased with the great interest shown in the VdZ HEATING Label, the sector’s solution for implementing the EU Energy Labelling Directive for heating systems. The industry has done its homework. Now, consumer awareness of the need for greater energy efficiency must be increased.”

ISH in figures:




Exhibitors, total

Germany / International


967 / 1,498


1,017* / 1,419*

Visitors, total

Germany / International


123,900 / 74,100


123,594* / 63,985*

Exhibition space

260,000 m²

258,500* m²


The next ISH will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 18 March 2017.


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