Having experienced volume decline in the previous two years as it suffered from maturity and the negative impact of the health and wellness trend, which encouraged consumers to opt for cooking methods such as steaming, microwaves saw a slight upturn in its performance in 2020. The slight growth was driven by freestanding microwaves, which benefited from the growing availability and popularity of multi-functional freestanding microwaves that offer functions such as steaming and grilling, as well as microwaving.
Built-in microwaves did not fare as well as freestanding models in 2020. The category saw a marked fall in volumes during the year as it suffered from its relatively high unit prices amidst considerable economic uncertainty resulting from measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, and reduced opportunities for installation due to lockdown restrictions.
The competitive landscape in microwaves remained very concentrated in 2020, with the two leading players, Midea Group Co Ltd and Guangdong Galanz Group Co Ltd, jointly responsible for more than 80% of total category volumes. Midea further extended its lead during the year, increasing its volume share as Guangdong Galanz’s fell slightly.
Multi-functional freestanding microwaves offering functions such as steaming, baking and grilling, as well as microwaving, have been a key area of innovation in recent years. While launched prior to 2020, the products continued to gain in popularity during the year.
Microwaves is expected to see modest but steady year-on-year volume growth throughout the forecast period. The maturity and increasingly outdated image of single-function freestanding microwaves will act as a constraint on growth, while built-in microwaves’ high unit price and limited functionality will make such products vulnerable to increased competition from built-in ovens.
Multi-functional freestanding microwaves’ growth during the forecast period will be spurred by continued manufacturer investment in new product development. Manufacturers will focus on positioning microwaves as more than a machine to simply warm up food or prepare ingredients, but rather as rounded cooking appliances.
While the proportion of connected appliances in microwaves remains low, the category is seeing increasing consumer interest in connected/smart products. Key features of connected microwaves in China include voice/remote control, food temperature sensing and menu recommendation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Microwaves research and analysis database.
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