A growing consumption of processed food products – frozen meat, vegetables, dairy products – and a change in the dietary habits of consumers is driving the refrigerators market growth worldwide.
Consumers, as a result of their busy lifestyles, are increasingly relying on processed food, prepared meals that require refrigerators for storage.
The huge market for processed food products and the still wide open market of rural China and India are factors that will continue to drive the refrigerators market, globally worth $35.1 billion in 2019. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.14% and reach $42.9 billion by 2023. In 2019, North America was the largest region in the global refrigerators market and China was the main producer.
Refrigerators market is still growing in China
The production of domestic and commercial refrigerators and freezers rose at a steady pace in China in 2019: this sector generated an output of 76 million units, up by 8% year-on-year.
Two Chinese giants, Haier and Midea, lead the pack, with different commercial strategies. While the first is present on the market with own brands (Haier, GE, Leader, Fisher & Paikel, Candy Hoover, Casarte, etc) Midea —that acquired Toshiba in 2016 —manufactures a huge quantity of models branded with their customer’s name.
But the manufacturing scenario is changing, with Chinese corporations acquiring existing producers abroad to supply local markets, rather than exporting their goods from mainland.
In addition to the already mentioned Indian and Chinese rising markets, numerous emerging countries are increasing their consumption —and in some cases also their local production —of domestic refrigerators.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the former URSS satellites… all these nations are undergoing different rates of demographic growth and a rise of the middle class, with a direct impact on the demand of housing, appliances and cars.
Innovation Drives the Growth
A major focus of refrigerator manufacturers is on the extension of fresh foods’ shelf life, to reduce global waste and cost of living. Some models already include a dedicated compartment provided with a UV lamp that generates a blue sterilising light that eliminates germs and bacteria. Others provide different levels of humidity and ventilation to different zones of the fridge.
The increasing availability of smart electronics allows the manufacturers to introduce advanced HMI (Human Machine Interface) designs in refrigerators and also provide appliances that can automatically recognize the type and weight of the stored food, adjusting and monitoring the temperature as per requirement.
The time is ripe now for a breed of intelligent models, able to check the stored packages and to automatically reorder the same product, online: launched several years ago, when the Internet connection was not yet widely available, this system has today all the needed infrastructure to operate.
IoT (Internet of Things) and embedded sensors will improve the overall functionality of the coming models. A predictive-maintenance design will warn about a possible failure in a fridge —as well as in other more mechanical household appliances.
If used remotely by the customer assistance network, these warnings will reduce the cost of warranty, allowing for the preventative replacement of a simple part rather than to the later substitution of an expensive, broken one. In any case, this predictive maintenance will cut the risks of downtimes and of expensive interventions during the entire life of the appliance, reducing operative costs and reinforcing the image of the brand.
Besides this, refrigerators manufacturers are focusing their effort in finding solutions to increase more and more the energy efficiency of the appliance.
The new energy efficiency label has forced the market to change the way energy efficiency tests are carried out, making criteria and tolerance thresholds more restrictive, and protocols more stringent. The race for maximum energy efficiency has begun (we recently talked about this topic in this article).
Cannon drives the innovation
A continuing cooperation with the leading refrigerator manufacturers and the suppliers of chemical formulation has characterised the activity of the Cannon Group in the field of foaming and polymerisation equipment.
Specifically for this market, Cannon has developed several innovative solutions:
- the short-stroke patented polymerisation fixture that cuts current cycle times up to 10-12%, easing service operations and reducing the energy consumption of a foaming line,
- a new patented door foaming method that allows to distribute the foam in open moulds at an output rate 60% higher than the current mode,
- the further improvements made to the V.A.I. (Vacuum Assisted Injection) technology for the optimal polymerisation and mould-filling properties of fast-curing formulations,
- the range extension implemented to the FPL SR series of efficient mixing heads, featuring a long nose suitable for complex injection situations and a simplified maintenance concept,
- a new patented L-shaped mixing head featuring the real-time measurement of the opening/closing force, to allow suitable predictive maintenance