Local air conditioner sales have received a brisk boost as the recent heatwave prompted many Israelis to invest in appliances to keep cool. "Since the big heat started over the past few weeks, we have seen an increase of 40 to 50 percent in our air conditioner sales", said Dror Reizenberg, vice marketing manager of Electra Air Conditioners. "We sell air conditioners all year long but the June to August period is our peak season for sales." Zeev Krool, general manager of Arie Krool Engines Ltd., an Israeli wholesaler and distributor of air conditioners, confirmed that sales of units of all types and sizes were up 60% over the past two weeks. "We have difficulties in keeping up with the installations." Electra, which covers 46% of the local air conditioning market, will launch a NIS 250,000 marketing campaign this summer to promote its $1 million investment into a new air conditioner product line tailored to the Haredi community. "We understand that in Israel there are different communities, they act differently and they have different needs, said Reizenberg. "Buying an air conditioner is not a trivial investment it is like buying a dress." Reizenberg added that Electra, in the same vein, was tailoring its products and services to the Russian and the Arabic community. "Nowadays people are buying more and more air conditioners and they care more about the design. The average household has 1.8 air conditioners." Krool added that what the end-user also cared about when buying an air conditioner was the level of energy savings and buying a brand product, either Electra or Tadiran. Separately, the Manufacturers' Association said Wednesday that Israel's air conditioner domestic sales were expected to rise by 5% this summer compared with last year, while exports were seen to receive a boost of 10%. About 120,000 air conditioner units for a total of NIS 360 million are predicted to be sold across the country during the summer months. Domestic sales in the July to August period will increase 5% in quantitative terms and 10% in financial terms, because new air conditioners are both more efficient and more expensive. Since April 1, only air conditioners using environmentally friendly gas may be sold in Israel. Thus, air conditioner prices are expected to increase by an average of 10% to an average price of NIS 3,000 per unit. Prices generally range from NIS 2,000 to NIS 8,000. Export deliveries, which are expected to reach as far as Siberia this year, will amount to $90m. in sales. Metal and Electrical Industries Association chairman Yair Weinberger, who is also president of Electrotherm Ltd., predicted that exports to Western and Eastern Europe will reach $56m., and exports to Africa, Australia, Mexico and South America and Siberia are expected to reach $24m.