With the Asia/Pacific region, in particular China pushing demand, by 2011 the market for major household appliances will reach 480 million units. This represents an annual 3.1% growth, accoring to a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm. The demand is based on the above average urban population growth and healthy gains in the number of households.
While China is the world's largest major household appliance market, and is also the world's largest producer and exporter of these products. However, growth in exports will slow from the torrid pace of the 1996-2006 period, in part due to increasing competition in offshore markets from other low-cost producing nations as well as to the establishment of offshore facilities by some Chinese manufacturers, according to the study.
India will have the fastest growth of any nation, benefiting from low penetration rates and rising standards of living.
Above-average growth will occur in the Africa/Mideast and Latin America regions due to strong gains in the number of households and rising per capita incomes.
Eastern Europe will also present opportunities, as a growing middle class increases its usage of appliances such as microwave ovens and clothes dryers.
Growth is also expected in the developed nations, despite the relatively high rates of market penetration, due to replacement demand, as users both replace broken equipment and trade up to newer models. Manufacturers will continue to introduce new technological innovations as a way to encourage upgrades. Among innovations that will boost demand are more efficient appliances designed to offer cost-reducing and "green" alternatives to older models.
Looking specifically at products, microwave ovens will post the fastest gains of any product group through 2011 due to their shorter lifespan compared to other white goods. In addition, significant untapped market potential exists in numerous countries, especially in the developing regions. Dishwashers will match industry growth, although price, size and cultural considerations will prevent these items from becoming commonplace in most areas where they are not already established. Refrigerators, freezers and conventional ranges will experience below-average gains, but will benefit from rising income levels in developing nations.