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European car wash industry examined in new market research report

Industrial Market Research

Since the 2007 European recession wash costs have become increasingly important to motorists, as they used low to medium cost jet and rollover wash types more frequently, which caused wash revenues to decline as tunnel wash occasions were replaced with lower cost alternatives.

Car Wash Industry Statistics, Trends And Market Analysis In Europe 2017 report provides Car Wash Market Size, Major Competitors and Channel Shares provides the analysis of the commercial car wash market across 19 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Russia. Includes volume of car wash sites, number of wash occasions per year, value of the market and insight into strategic issues impacting the sector.

Moreover, it provides an analysis of the car wash market across two commercial wash channels, and covers the four main types of car wash installation; jet, roll over ,tunnel and hand washes.

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Companies mentioned in this report are Shell, BP, Esso, Circle K, Q8, Texaco, Washtec. Otto Wash Christ AG, Tammermatic, Karcher, IMO, ARC, Elephant Bleu, Hypromat, Istobal, TOTAL, LUKOIL, OMV.

Over the last five years wash operators have slowly increased wash prices to boost wash revenues, however in 2016 wash price increases caused motorists to reduce wash occasions as they became tired of paying more annually for commercial washes.

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In 2016 the majority of wash operators across Europe raised their wash prices to make up for shortfalls in forecourt revenues as fuel revenues declined between 2014 and 2016, which caused motorists to increase their home wash occasions as they were unwilling to pay these higher wash prices. Once commercial wash prices hit a certain level, motorists were forced to weigh up whether they thought that the time and effort saved using a commercial wash was worth the price paid compared to washing their own vehicles at home.

In 2016 European motorists determined that this level had been hit in many markets, causing total wash occasions across Europe to decline 0.9% and home wash occasions to rise over this period.

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The popularity of hand washes continued to grow in 2016 in the top five European wash markets such as France, Italy and the UK, as both motorists and wash operators were drawn to this wash type. Low wash costs and a perceived high quality of wash attracted motorists to this wash type, while low set up and maintenance costs attracted wash operators.

It is only over the last five to ten years that hand washes have become so popular within the European top five, with many motorists switching from mid-priced rollover washes to hand washes.

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Automated car wash installations are become increasingly popular across Europe at unmanned service stations as fuel retailers attempt to maximise revenues at unmanned sites. Automated rollover and tunnel wash installations allow motorists to pay for their car wash either at an attached pay station or via a payment app which provides the motorist with a code which actives the installation.

Operators should make use of new technologies to automate their car washes, allowing motorists to use smartphone apps to pay for their wash programs, which would increase revenues from unmanned sites and increase appeal of the site to motorists leading to higher vehicle throughput per site.


  • The value of the European car wash market (made up of 19 countries in our analysis) rose by €60.9m in 2016 as wash operators increased wash prices. Rising wash prices across Europe is the primary cause of wash market value growth in 2016, as wash occasions declined over this period.
  • More than 1,500 car wash installations closed across Europe in 2016 as a drop in fuel volumes and disposable incomes caused wash operators to close their wash sites. The majority of wash site closures came from Germany and the UK, as wash occasions per installation declined, due to increased wash costs and home wash occasions in each market respectively, causing wash operators to close sites.
  • The total number of wash occasions in Europe declined by 0.9% in 2016 as motorists reduced their wash occasions as disposable income levels fell and operators increased wash prices across a number of European markets. 77.0% of wash occasions in Europe were undertaken at rollover and jet wash installations, as these wash types remained dominant in Europe in 2016.

This report helps to

  • Make informed investment decisions by understanding the size of the car wash retail market and the nature of the competition within it.
  • Understand motorists wash habits and plan effect strategies to maximise wash occasions
  • Formulate market share objectives for your company and assess performance using our value data segmented by channel and installation type.
  • Develop superior strategies to those of your competitors by accessing information on their site numbers and marketing activities.

Table of Contents:

  • Executive Summary
  • European Wash Trends
  • European Market Overview
  • Standalone Wash Operator Profiles
  • Wash Manufacturer Profiles
  • Country Analysis
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • The UK
  • Appendix
  • Wash occasions by vehicle type
  • Wash occasions by gender 

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