A backward local industry, massive imports

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Iran currently counts 82.5 million inhabitants on a surface of 1.65 million square kilometres (about 5.5 times the Italian one). 75% of the population lives in cities; the capital Teheran alone counts almost 10 million inhabitants – 14 millions considering the whole metropolitan area – while other 6 cities exceed one million. The scarce population of rural zones is due to the presence of broad desert areas.

Foto di Pavellllllll da Pixabay

The per capita income reached almost 21000 dollars in 2018: just over half the Italian one. A developing Country, relying on an important resource: oil, of which it is the fifth producer in the world, after United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. All 24.2 million houses are equipped with connection to electricity, 99.4% with drinking water. However, according to Unesco, about 25% of Iranians live under the conventional poverty threshold.

Manufacturing and manufacturers

The main source of data on household appliances in Iran is the daily paper “Financial Tribune”, in English language, which reports the press releases by the local trade association Ilia and interviews with sector players. Unfortunately, there are discrepancies among the various news; therefore, we report here those deemed more reliable, without anyway attributing a value of absolute certainty to them.

The Iranian production mainly consists of big essential appliances, i.e. refrigerators, washing machines, cookers and conventional ovens. According to ILIA association, in 2018 they manufactured 12 million big appliances overall, but the delimitation of this category remains uncertain. The global value is slightly inferior to 2 billion US dollars. The trend was positive until 2017, with a slight downturn in 2018.

Manufacturers are 560, the vast majority of them assembling companies or producers of small appliances. Workers are about 30,000. The productive capacity installed, however, is used by not more than 50%. This owing to the scarce appreciation of Iranian household appliances, old-fashioned and of modest quality. They cannot compete with imported ones, more efficient and often offered at lower prices. Reference companies for the Iranian market are Pars Electric, Pakshoma, Snowa, Sinjer, Butane and Emersun. The main local brand was ARJ, which however declared bankruptcy in 2016. New plants have instead been established by South-Korean Groups Samsung and LG.

The market

In 2018, they sold in Iran household appliances for an estimated global value of about 6.5 billion US Dollars. The recent average growth was by 7% yearly.

Essential appliances are the best sellers, from the refrigerator to the washing machine, from the cooker to the TV set whereas washing machines, dryers or built-in models are still infrequent.

The domestic production satisfies just 40% of the market while the remaining 60% goes to import, mostly from China (leader brands are Haier, Midea and Gree Electric) and from South Korea. Besides the official import, a quite relevant smuggling import exists. The phenomenon is considered quite serious, owing to the inactivity of local authorities on the matter

Iranian consumers privilege imported appliances also thanks to strong promotional campaigns and to the outstanding name of foreign brands.

The prospects

The big but obsolete Iranian industry cannot contrast the efficiency of Chinese and South-Korean competitors, which dominate the market; the latter is anyway in expansion phase. The situation is not expected to change in the next future, owing also to sanctions, which weigh on the Country’s economy.

PRODUCTION, SALE AND DIFFUSION RATE OF SOME HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES   IN IRAN IN 2018 (millions of units)

Production Sales Diffusion (%)
Refrigerators and freezers 1.7 3.2 86
Washing machines 0.8 2.2 88
Stoves and ovens 3.2 4.5 99
Vacuum cleaners 0.7 2.0 94
Conditioners 0.4 0.7 22
TV sets 1.8 4.0 99
DVD players 1.7 44

Sources: Financial Tribune, ILIA, Statistical Center of Iran

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