While the European space‐heating market has been well researched for more than 20 years, there is still limited information concerning the air‐conditioning (AC) branch. Owing to the rising sensitivity of primary energy utilization, the development of the space cooling (SC) sector is of fundamental importance. We apply Porter’s five forces analysis, leading to the conclusion that a fairly steady rise for approximately two decades (since 1990) characterizes the AC market, and it will continue to grow moderately. Research and development (R&D) is the dominant driving force. Similar conclusions come from a multiple‐criteria decision analysis, which shows that the SC market will especially depend on (1) R&D activities, (2) economic crisis, and (3) higher comfort standards requested by the European population. Taking into consideration the outcomes of performed inquiries, including an extensive survey based on expert interviews from all over Europe, the AC market appears to be marked by a slightly positive future development until 2020. The main factors influencing this tendency are the fact that SC is necessary only for specific applications and climates, the customers’ purchasing power reduction, and the electricity price growth.