During the meeting organized in Rome by Confindustria Ceced Italia, the scenario of the household appliance industry in Italy was presented. As highlighted by Emanuela Soffientini, president of Confindustria Ceced Italia, the circular economy, smartness and connectivity are the dominant themes today, not only in Italy but also in Europe. The home appliance connectivity is already a reality: the European market offers over 2,100 connected appliances. In Italy, in the first half of 2017, 18.3% of the sold washing machines is connected (GfK data). The connectivity is part of the new paradigm of smartness, which means a more rational use of energy resources from the household appliances to the smart grids and the smart cities. Besides, the connectivity can contribute to the success of the circular economy. Soffientini said that this is not a far-away goal, but a number of conditions that should already be considered in designing the products that will be on the market in the coming years.
The situation of the components sector
According to Ceced Italia, the first half of 2017 confirmed the stability of the made-in-Italy domestic and professional household appliances market, with the worldwide success of the professional equipment for catering and hospitality, the stability of the major domestic appliances and cooker hoods, the slowdown in value of the small domestic appliance segment, the positive outlook for the components, and the need for certification and labeling for chimneys and biomass heating appliances. As regards to the component manufacturers sector, the first half of 2017 has seen a gradual recovery after the instability in 2016. The second half of the year is expected to have the same pace, relatively moderate but regular. The component industry, always central for the technological innovation, continues to respond positively to the needs of the home appliance industry, influenced by the regulations on energy label and ecodesign, particularly for the cold products segment and electric ovens. The sector is always on the move and the companies are absolutely aware that only through the technological development the current and future challenges can be overcome.
According to the Gfk data on the Italian market, in January-May 2017 the major domestic appliances sales grew by 3.6% in volume and by 0.2% in value. Considering the different products, dryers, ovens and dishwashers recorded the highest increases in volume, respectively +7.2%, +5.2% and +5.1%. Looking at the value data, the dryers had the highest growth (+2.3%), while freezers and freestanding cookers decreased by 4.2% and 5.2% respectively. As regards to the small domestic appliances, both volume and value sales grew (+4.4% and +1.6% respectively). In volume, the oral hygiene products, hair removal products, male shaving products, coffee machines and steam cleaning products increased at double-digit. Considering the value sales, the steam cleaning products grew by 37.1% and the oral hygiene products increased by 11.8%.
The household appliance industry in Europe
Paolo Falcioni, director general of Ceced Europe, presented a study dedicated to the household appliance industry in the European Union. Considering the household appliance production in Europe, Italy is positioned immediately behind Germany and before countries such as France, Spain, Great Britain and also Poland, considered the biggest emerging manufacturer (from someone considered before Italy – explained Falcioni). As regards to the direct jobs in the household appliance industry, Italy with 36,000 employees is second behind Germany (49,000) and largely before Poland (25,000). The commitment to the research and innovation from the household appliance manufacturers in Europe determined investments of around 1.4 billion euro in 2015, totally self-financing. The number of registered patents was 11,562 in 2013, equal to 8% of the total. And it has been steadily growing over the past ten years. As regards to the investments in innovation, Italy is second with 259 million in 2015, behind Germany (418 million), and Poland is third with 144 million. All other EU countries don’t reach three-digit investments. According to the study, Italy recorded a manufacturing turnover of 8.611 billion. The positioning behind Germany (13.98 billion) is confirmed, but Italy is before Poland (4.79 billion), France (3.85 billion), Spain (2.61 billion) and Great Britain (2,13 billion).