GfK forecasts total sales of household appliances to reach €307.8 billion in 2021

GfK reports the global market for small and large household appliances recorded an excellent first half of 2021, with sales of small appliances up 21% and large appliances up 31% compared to the same period last year, which was impacted by lockdowns. 

GfK says it expects total sales for 2021 to reach €307.8 bn, which represents an overall increase of 8%, marking a new record in global sales volume. The focus on people’s homes further fuelled the buying mood. When it comes to storage, food preparation, cooking, and even cleaning chores, consumers value performance/capacity, high quality, and top class.

Norbert Herzog, GfK’s Expert for Household Appliances, said demand for small and large household appliances was impressive in the first six months of 2021, even exceeding pre-COVID sales levels in comparison to 2019: a 20% increase for large appliances and 25% increase for small appliances. 

Norbert Herzog, GfK’s Expert for Household Appliances

However, due to the pandemic and the varying infection levels and associated restrictions, extreme fluctuations can be observed in the market. Compared to the same period last year, the large equipment market in India grew by 51%, in China by 38%, and in Western Europe by 32% in the first half of 2021. Small appliances recorded above-average growth of 27% in Europe.

Herzog said: “Increased demand in the market is also causing price increases, which are additionally exacerbated by sharp increases in raw material and logistics costs. 

“A price increase of 23% in the second quarter confirms the upward price trend that has already been observed since the third quarter of 2020. This could slow demand in the second half of the year. Regardless, we expect the market for home appliances to grow by 8% overall in 2021, setting a new record in global sales volume.”

Consumers focus on performance/capacity, high quality and top class

In 2021, people still spend a lot of time inside the home and their demands on household appliances will increase. When it comes to storage, food preparation, cooking, and even cleaning chores, consumers value performance/capacity, high quality, and top class.

For example, high-capacity side-by-side refrigerators (+36%) or those with more than four doors (+33%) were particularly popular. Furthermore, products promising elevated hygiene also showed potential. 

Herzog said: “Washing machines with a steam function sold almost twice as much as the year before, when the market was already worth around €4.3bn.

“There is also an increased demand when it comes to the kitchen. Whether food processors or espresso machines, built-in appliances such as dishwashers or cooktops (preferably with integrated exhaust system), all these product segments grew significantly faster than the market for large and small appliances as a whole. 

“While during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, small cooking appliances were still in great demand, a year later, old familiar categories such as automatic espresso machines, but also styling appliances (e.g. straightening irons, hair styling tools) are again driving growth.”

When it comes to cleaning, many consumers focus on time-saving helpers. Robot vacuum cleaners grew by 50%, overtaking traditional cylinder vacuum cleaners in sales for the first time. They performed particularly well alongside handstick vacuum cleaners, which again grew by 19% in the first half of 2021.

Online sales reach unprecedented levels

One look at online retail shows that new all-time highs are being recorded for both small and large appliances. Following growth in large appliances online in the first half of 2020 (+30%), this year saw renewed growth of 38% compared to the same period last year. This means that more than 31% of all major household appliances are sold online. This figure for small appliances is even higher at 49%.

Herzog said: “COVID-19 has elevated us, almost by necessity, to a new level of digitalisation.

“But consumer loyalty and trust in traditional retailers remains strong. It is their online business that has benefited the most, driving up the home appliances market in Europe with a triple-digit growth rate of 152% compared to 2019. New online formats and innovations such as live streaming events in China also offer great potential for Europe.”

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