“As in other segments, the coronavirus pandemic and the limitations it imposed influenced the aquatics trade cycle throughout Europe,” says Ulrich Glaser, CEO of Amtra-Croci. In the last year in particular, however, rising energy costs and the general reluctance of consumers to spend as a consequence of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine also had a negative impact on the development of the aquatics segment. But consumer behaviour this year has largely relativised once more. Lars Larsen, director at Juwel Aquarium, summarises the situation with cautious optimism: “We are currently still experiencing marked reticence on the part of the consumer, and this is the case, in fact, across Europe. In the long term, however, we assume that the impetus gained by the hobby during the pandemic will be useful in extending the spread of ornamental fish keeping.”
Ingo Walther, CEO at Dennerle Plants, considers the European market for aquarium plants and care products to be saturated. He is confident, however, that the market will become consolidated in the months and years to come and that overcapacity from previous years will be reduced. The Ukrainian manufacturer Collar has a similar view. “The European aquarium market is stagnating,” states company spokeswoman Lesya Nevolko. She cites the emergence of LED lighting as the last big boom, saying that “the manufacturers now nearly all offer the same products”.
Edmund Kuppert, aquatics product manager at Hagen Germany, is adopting an upbeat stance regarding the future: “The level of aquatics sales is generally above that of 2019 and most country markets in Europe are developing steadily or even positively.” Ulrich Glaser expresses the same sentiments.
Trends and developments
Rodolphe Ruelle, export sales manager at JBL, reports that he considers the current trends in aquatics to be the classic aquarium, aquascaping and cold-water aquariums. The latter are popular especially in France and southern Europe. He says that marine aquariums are sharply in decline, not least due to the high investment costs.
Edmund Kuppert says that aquariums are also no longer meant to be purely functional, but must harmonise with the interior design style. “The technology is following this connectivity trend too, whether it is LED lighting controlled by app or connectivity to the home network to monitor and control the aquarium,” says the sector veteran. This factor is a major reason for the resurgent fascination with the underwater…