Major domestic appliances: the trend in the main countries of Western Europe

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bandiere-europeeDuring the IFA fair in Berlin, GfK presented the market data of the first six month of the year for the major domestic appliances in the Western Europe. Among the different countries, Germany is the main engine of growth. The positive economic development in conjunction with historically low interest rates continues to ensure a good basis for further growth. In the first half of 2014, unit sales were 3% above the previous year’s figure, representing +4% in value terms. Convenience features, such as flexible induction technology for hobs, are gradually achieving a higher degree of market penetration. Besides, ever more models are being sold online, which generated double-digit growth rates in both value and volume sales in the first half of the year.
The economic situation in France is considerably more subdued. The double-digit unemployment rate is still causing uncertainty among French consumers. In addition, the decline in the construction of new homes is curtailing demand for built-in appliances. However, the stagnation in unit sales is set against an improvement of 1% in value sales of major domestic appliances. Refrigerators and freezers recorded particularly strong growth. In the fridge-freezer segment, devices featuring no-frost technology are increasingly gaining importance in the marketplace.
Following two strong quarters, the economic output of the UK exceeded the pre-crisis level for the first time since the financial crash in 2008. This positive development is also echoed in an increased willingness to buy among consumers. Accordingly, the UK market for domestic appliances not only achieved growth in volume sales, but also recorded a considerable increase in value sales of 5% (pound sterling). The importance of washing machines with high load capacity and fridge-freezers featuring no-frost technology has been increasing for the market. At the same time, growth in online retail in the domestic appliance segment has also been maintained. In the UK, the revenue share attributable to this channel amounted to 32 percent, which is the highest in Europe.
Italy came back into recession in the second quarter 2014. However, thanks to a strong first quarter, the market for domestic appliances has so far been able to record a +1% in both value and volume sales. The key growth driver has been washer dryers with energy-efficient heat pump technology.
After years of crisis, the economy in Spain is finally beginning to gradually recover. Unit sales in the domestic appliance market, which had also strongly declined due to the real estate sector crisis, improved for the first time since 2010 in the first half of the year (+3%). Demand for energy-efficient fridge freezers has risen quite considerably.
After a period of economic difficultly, the mood in the Netherlands is also beginning to improve. The negative developments in the real estate sector also had a negative impact on growth in the domestic appliances market in this country. In 2014, the market saw growth of 5% in unit sales, which is above all attributable to the increased demand for integrated appliances. High-value flexible induction hobs are particularly important and a strong trend towards energy-efficient models has been apparent across all product groups.