GfK: major and small domestic appliances stay stable

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Despite the global Covid-19 pandemic, in the first half of 2020 the Small Domestic Appliances market grew by a solid +8.6 percent and the Major Domestic Appliances market (including air conditioners) experienced limited losses of -8.6 percent in value terms. These are GfK‘s findings for the global MDA and SDA market excluding North America and South Africa. Although the pandemic had a significant negative impact on sales, the increased focus on the at-home experiences drove a sales recovery in May and June. Sales of appliances addressing the new challenges generated by the enforced need to “eat at home”, “clean at home” and “groom at home” soared. This includes microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, beard trimmers and multi-grooming kits. However, for some categories, entire seasons were lost due to Covid-19 (for example air conditioners). Overall, MDA (excluding air conditioners) only lost -3.7 percent in value terms, even less than the total -5.8 percent for the tech & durables market. Looking at the regions, in the first half year of 2020, the SDA market experienced a solid performance in Europe (including CIS) growing by +9 percent. The MDA market was almost stable at -2 percent here. Developed Asian countries also saw a strong uptake of MDA products at an +2.7 percent uptick. While affluent countries were able to invest in appliances to makes their life easier in lockdown, this was less feasible in emerging economies due to the immediate impact of the pandemic on income and willingness to spend money. Consequently, the emerging Asian countries (including China) experienced a double-digit decline in value, weakening MDA market growth. However, the low price point of SDA products and the urgent need for cooking and cleaning products supported a rapid revival of SDA in emerging Asian countries (including China). Here SDA grew by +10.9 percent. Fortunately, in June total appliances growth recovered with double digit sales growth both in China and the rest of the world. A clear demand shift from “want” to “need” was evident from the onset of the pandemic. As people stockpiled (frozen) food, the immediate need for more storage capacity boosted sales of freezers. For example, between March 2 and March 22, volume sales grew by 317 percent in Great Britain and by 185 percent in Germany. Once the stockpiling moderated, next came a strong drive for food preparation appliances. This characterizes the Adapt phase, with volume sales in the weeks between March 23 and April 26 up by +28 percent in Germany. The trend to “eat at home” continued strongly post-lockdown, in what GfK terms the Revenge Shopping phase. Here the food preparation category grew by +24.8 percent in value terms. All cooking categories enjoyed positive tractions as a result of this trend. “While Covid-19 sent shockwaves reverberating through the whole industry – from consumers to supply chain – the final outcome of a strong in-home focus led to the unexpected strong and fast recovery of markets post-lockdowns – Norbert Herzog, GfK’s expert for the MDA industry, commented -. This Revenge Shopping phenomenon was particularly strong for home appliances as consumers proved happy to invest in solutions that supported them and saved them time in a busy work and schooling from home environment. Size definitely matters for consumers in this context and so capacity in MDA is emerging as a long-term driver due to the pandemic”. Just as “eat at home” triggered sales for the cooking categories, other challenges like “groom at home” along with hygiene concerns and the non-availability of salons catalyzed sales of multi-grooming kits (+53 percent) and beard trimmers (+56 percent). Similarly, the “clean-at-home” trend triggered sales of vacuum cleaners (+10 percent) and dishwashers (+5.6 percent). “In general – Nevin Francis, GfK’s expert for the SDA industry, said – we’re seeing that products offering an added value in terms of hygiene, health and well-being are driving growth segments. First and foremost, steam functions have seen massive sales uptake, sales of washing machines offering more hygiene via steam cleaning grew by 30 percent. Similarly steam cleaners grew by a strong +44 percent in value terms”. According to GfK´s Consumer Life survey, more than half (53 percent) of consumers globally agree with the statement “I am always looking for ways to simplify my life”. With 21 percent turnover growth in 2020, washing machines with automatic dosage function are a prime example of this trend. Smart MDA appliances usually go hand-in-hand with simplification. Most regions experienced strong growth in sales in smart appliances – the exceptions were Latin America and China. Still, globally turnover grew by 8 percent, with Europe as the outlier at +16 percent growth. Smart SDA appliances witnessed a steady growth of +10 percent in the H1 2020 globally. However, unlike MDA, the affinity for smart products is highest in China. This region saw growth rates of +25 percent due to the demand for both smart air treatments and smart robot vacuum cleaners. Overall smart SDA registered growth in all regions.

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