The white goods industry is poised for a connected revolution, as smart features become a priority for home appliance makers. So say market analyst Futuresource in its latest Worldwide Home Appliance Market report
“Manufacturers are now focusing on the inclusion of smart features and we anticipate that half of all home appliances that ship in 2021 will offer online connectivity,” says Filipe Oliveira, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “For example LG and Hoover have committed to implementing connectivity within all their appliances this year. Other major players such as Bosch and Samsung have announced plans to follow suit by 2020.
“Connectivity has the potential to open the door for manufacturers, to provide services linked to the major domestic appliances that they sell. These could include diagnostic and maintenance services, management and ordering of consumables, improved fabric care or even enhanced cooking experiences,” adds Oliveira.
The home appliances sector boomed in 2016, with global shipments growing by 4 per cent to 247 million refrigeration and laundry units. Continued volume growth is expected over the next five years, for a market that is currently worth $85 billion a year.
Growth in the established markets of North America and Western Europe was 3 per cent. Emerging markets in Asia and Africa took the lead, as many consumers purchased appliances for the first time.
In laundry, there’s a trend towards high capacity models. Dryers are also experiencing a period of strong sales growth in Southern Europe, where historically uptake has been low. In refrigeration, multi-door devices and premium features such as ice dispensers are becoming more affordable.
The average retail price of major appliances is declining but a move toward smart features is expected to stabilize prices.
Whirlpool, Electrolux and Haier were the major domestic appliances makers in the global market in 2016, with a combined unit share of over 40 per cent. However competition continues to heat up.
Yuki Kusumi, Vice President of Panasonic’s Appliance Company, says he’s is looking to expand Panasonic’s European presence with new technologies. “By introducing steam function cooking and induction hobs using the latest sensor technology, we will enable European consumers to enjoy a new type of cooking, “ he told Inside CI.