With many consumers forced to remain at home for several months during the initial lockdown period in Spain, the convenience trend, which had continued to drive demand for microwaves pre-pandemic, was not as obvious or deemed as essential, with home cooking and preparation key to driving usage of larger cooking appliances. This resulted in a significant decline in retail volume sales of microwaves, with non-essential stores such as electronics and appliance specialist retailers closed, while the larger distribution channel of hypermarkets suffered reduced footfall as consumers shied away from spending time in huge stores which tend to encourage longer browsing time due to its wide range of non-grocery items.
Freestanding microwaves continued to drive demand for the category, dominating volume and value sales, while built-in models suffered more pronounced drops in comparison, as all kitchen renovations stopped during the lockdown, while the construction of new homes also stopped during the first weeks. Nevertheless, while built-in formats of major appliances were gaining in popularity towards the end of the review period following certain design trends, demand for built-in microwaves was already starting to wane in 2019; these appliances are smaller in comparison to large cooking appliances and can easily be stored away or placed in a utility area when not in use.
The competitive landscape in microwaves remained highly fragmented in 2020, with a large number of brands and a significant private label presence. LG Electronics España strengthened its lead in retail volume share terms in 2020 due to its wide-ranging portfolio and the attractive design of its devices, despite declining demand.
Demand for microwaves is expected to improve from 2021 with a slow recovery across the forecast period driven by freestanding models, while sales of built-in models will see more drastic declines compared to the review period. However, due to significant declines in 2020, and slower volume growth overall, actual sales are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, due to lingering price sensitivity with Spain set to be one of the most severely impacted European countries due to the economic effects of the pandemic.
With a more positive outlook for microwaves, players are likely to continue to invest in innovation, with new functionalities in terms of grilling, baking and frying, likely to gain further popularity, particularly amongst small or single households, in addition to greater affordability compared to a large cooking appliance such as an oven or hob. Nevertheless, the healthy eating trend in terms of cooking and preparing fresh meals at home offers competition to the category, which could encourage players to develop microwave models using steam or convection technology which limits the alteration of food nutrients, which is therefore perceived to be healthier, whilst also keeping meal preparation to a minimum.
Innovation is also likely to continue moving towards in terms of smart appliances and connected devices. Although more of a niche within microwaves compared to some consumers appliances in Spain, this concept could offer further value and interest within the category.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Microwaves industry in Spain with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Microwaves research and analysis database.
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