Household appliances in Italy, 2021-upswing

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Paolo Lioy, APPLiA Italia president

In 2021, the Italian household appliance market witnessed the recovery in all segments, starting from white goods (+18%) and, in general, from the appliances that match high performances and eco-efficiency. Good trend for the export (+18.5%), the Professional as well recovers, driven by the reopening of the Hospitality sector after -30% in 2020. These are the main results emerged from the yearly conference of APPLiA Italia.
According to the analysis of 2021-data processed in collaboration with GfK, big appliances score sales rising by +18.8% in value and +14.4% by units. The following branches grow more in value than in volume: washing (respectively +13.7% and +9.7%) driven by the sale of dryers and built-in dishwashers, refrigeration (+12.3%, +4.9%) and cooking (+35.6%, +29.6%). Of outstanding relevance, the success of high-end products, like induction hobs provided with flex zones (+97%) and suction hobs (+148%).
Small appliances grow in value by 5.5% with the same volume. Driving is the cooking field (+3.4% in volume; +10.6% in value), headed by coffee machines and by fryers, in addition to the household sector (+0.3% in volume; +3.9% in value), especially with the iron market (instead in downturn phase the previous year). Hoods grow by 8%, significant positive signs were scored also for chimneys and flues and for the biomass heating sector, with a turnover increase by over 30%. Concerning electric water heaters, 2021 brings an important demand restart, with the choice and the development of high energy-efficiency solutions. The componentry ambit, although hindered by the lack of materials and in particular of microprocessors, scored a strong recovery in conformity with the trend of finished products.
The year in course is affected by a market drop by over 5% for sell-in data of white goods, in a general economic survey characterized by geopolitical instability and by the difficult provisioning of raw materials and energy sources, with high rises in prices. Moreover, concern is caused for the possible repercussions on the sector trend by the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) for raw materials like steel and aluminium, and by the annulment of the free shares of the Emission Trading System (ETS), focus of EU’s decarbonization targets by 2050. Full support to green strategies by APPLiA Italia but, the president Paolo Lioy warns, with the CBAM so structured “European household appliance manufacturers will have to face the 5-10% rise of manufacturing costs for the whole production located in the EU, owing to the higher prices of raw materials and of energy, with serious impact on their competitiveness compared to non-European competitors. In absence of a corrective measure, this will urge to relocate the production and therefore carbon emissions outside the European Union, where ETS-equivalent mechanisms are not in force. Incalculable damages for continental employment levels and no environmental benefit”.