After several years of stable or rising sales, in 2020 refrigeration appliances turned to decline, mainly due to COVID-19. The economic impact of the measures taken to control the virus made some consumers rethink their plans to upgrade such major appliances in 2020, as they have high unit prices.
With consumers looking to shop less frequently, there is increasing demand for refrigeration appliances with the capacity to keep food and drink fresh for the longest time. Manufacturers have targeted this demand by focusing on their products’ capacity to effectively preserve foods through chilling, pointing to the potential to keep vegetables fresh for up to seven days, for example.
Panasonic Corp maintained its lead in refrigeration appliances in 2020, thanks to strong brand loyalty and a diverse product offer covering a range of capacities. However, it saw a decline in its retail volume share in this year.
Like other players, Hitachi is working to adapt its offer to rapidly evolving consumer demand and provide products that can help to reduce the frequency of shopping for busy consumers. In 2019, Hitachi launched a new product, the R-KX57N, which offers consumers greater flexibility to meet different needs in their changing lifestyles.
Sales of refrigeration appliances are expected to rebound in 2021, with a return almost to the level of sales seen in 2019. As consumers become more confident to spend once again, the pent-up demand from 2020 will be released.
Polarisation is expected in fridge-freezers, which is the largest category in refrigeration appliances, in the forecast period. Many households saw decreases in their incomes in 2020 due to COVID-19, and this is likely to continue in the forecast period due to the lasting economic impact of measures taken to control the virus.
Fridge-freezers is expected to see the strongest retail volume growth in the forecast period, as these are multifunctional and therefore consumers only need to purchase one appliance. Although with more consumers spending time at home, there may be an opportunity in some households for the sale of a separate freezer, it is not in the culture to have a separate freezer in Japan, which is expected to contribute to decline in this category.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Refrigeration Appliances industry in Japan 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 Refrigeration Appliances research and analysis database.
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