Major domestic appliances have shown a strong worldwide recovery in the first half of 2010, according to GfK Retail and Technology Global. The market research firm noted positive trends in Europe and North America in 2010 so far, while substantial growth is occurring in Asian and Latin American emerging markets. Demand is "increasing significantly" in the Middle East after a weak 2009.
Presenting its data at the IFA trade show in Berlin on Sept. 3, 2010, the market research firm said worldwide spending on major domestic appliances is up almost 10% on a U.S. dollar basis in the first half of 2010, with unit sales increased about 7%. The growth can be seen as driven, in some part, by the stronger U.S. dollar.
Also important is a global trend toward higher-end appliances, with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency. The reporting firm said that, while the trend has been a factor in the United States and Europe for some time, it has now become a measurable factor in emerging markets and is increasingly the target of government incentive programs.
The GfK report said the recovery hasn't lifted the European market any higher than it was in 2006. Some Eastern European countries are still in recession and 2010 sales are down from 2009 in Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Sales in Russia and the Ukraine are "edging up" over 2009; freestanding refrigerators and washers are suddenly hot products in Russia, helping drive overall appliance sales.
In Europe, Spain and the U.K. are growing and sales in Italy have been showing signs of recovery since April's government incentives, the report stated.
The report characterized growth as "especially vigorous" in the Middle East and some African countries. First-half 2010 sales are up more than 20% in Iran and Egypt, with refrigerators and washing machines in high demand.
With China and India leading the way, Asia's overall major domestic appliance sales have increased 20% in the first half of 2010, the GfK report said. In some countries the growth is much higher – such as Indonesia at 70%.
China's market, stimulated by government incentives for rural buyers, is up 25%.
The report said the U.S. market is "clearly recovering" with sales up 8% in the first half of 2010, and dishwashers, large capacity refrigerators, and washing machines are hot sellers.
Brazil continues driving Latin American growth, and GfK reported that government incentives helped drive sharp increases in unit sales of refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines in 2009. Demand remained high in the first half of 2010.
The report concluded that there is a "clear upward market trend for major domestic appliances worldwide," with energy efficiency, functionality, and design driving growth in developed countries. Growing middle classes in emerging countries offer major potential for market growth – with their growing purchasing power and "innovation-oriented consumption patterns" this market will also drive increased demand for energy-efficient domestic appliances.
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