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Last edited 24 Mar 2021
Global Air Conditioning Study 2017
The large markets, such as the US, are growing well above the global average, while the Chinese market is picking up. However, the European markets continue to be in recovery and will be challenged by political and legislative issues in 2018.
The market is diversifying: small splits are becoming more of a commodity product which means high levels of competition but opportunities are opening for new distribution channels. Greater interest in mini Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) and water-based solutions and a drive towards offering more solutions and smart products to add value at the commercial end.
While the global market saw an overall drop in sales in 2016, primarily due to the impact of the slowdown in China, a recovery has been recorded in 2017 that was better than previously forecast. This was mainly due to a boost in the Chinese market caused by a hot summer and a focus on upgrading of AC units for example with intelligent solutions such as Wi-Fi.
The market is becoming very competitive and Chinese brands operating outside China which have traditionally operated as OEM suppliers are also keen to develop their brands. The downturn in sales in China in recent years has meant that the Chinese suppliers have increasingly been looking for overseas opportunities to 'shift their stock'.
The Asia Pacific region continues to account for the largest share with 58% of global value. Europe is relatively small as a sales region, accounting for 7% by volume and 11% by value globally and is only slowly recovering.
"The Chinese market has been boosted by a housing boom with the government pushing money into their new five year plan as well as a hot summer which meant restocking at distribution level and incentives to switch to more environmentally friendly units.
"The USA has continued to benefit from a continued positive economy and BSRIA has seen some recovery in the Japanese market. The growth levels we are seeing in these top countries are a positive sign bearing in mind the maturity of them.
"The significant boost of the South Korean market was a one off based on a very hot spell and as it is a mature market we are not expecting this to repeat itself under normal weather conditions. Likewise, the Australian market boost is a result of additional construction activities and BSRIA expects the growth to drop from 2018 and a decline in 2019 for residential products.”
This is a highly volatile market, global sales by volume increased by 11% in 2017, dependent on short term weather patterns. The biggest increase was seen in Asia Pacific, with sales in Australia increasing significantly following a hot summer which was seen in all regions, not just the eastern board.
The global market for windows dropped marginally in 2017, totalling around 11.8 million units. It is losing favour to high wall single splits. 'Bucking the downward trend' in market volume was the USA which saw an increase in volume by 3% to 7.3 million units.
Overall, double digit growth is expected to continue over the next few years, apart from in Europe which is now a fairly mature market. BSRIA is seeing a trend towards more mini VRF as well as some water-cooled VRF going into high end residential applications, however, the capital costs of water-cooled VRF are still viewed as being very high. In terms of outdoor units, Europe accounts for just under 10% of global sales or 180,000 units. Turkey is the biggest market, followed by France, Italy and the UK.
China continues to dominate the global VRF market accounting for 65% of volume sales, with units popular in both the residential and commercial markets. In particular, mini VRF are expected to continue to see a positive growth rate in China as the middle classes are looking to replace conventional splits with mini VRF units.
“Recent years have seen an increasing interest in VRF in the USA and the country remains in fourth position in the market with sales report as close to 50,000 outdoor units in 2017. However, due to the current limited geographical focus for these products and the slowdown in the market for residential multi-family homes, accounting for 20 per cent of sales, there is a view that the market may hit a bit of a bottleneck.”
BSRIA's Worldwide Market Intelligence (WMI) division is a leading provider of a regularly released authoritative portfolio of published market reports and hot topics, in addition to bespoke studies and management consultancy. A wide range of off-the-shelf solutions includes: HVAC, energy service and smart homes, renewable technology, refrigeration, structured cabling, lighting, security, fire detection and building controls.
BSRIA WMI also offers highly valued market consultancy to the building and HVAC&R market stakeholders building on its comprehensive data base of information, its profound expertise of the markets competitive environment, its technical knowledge and strong analytical power.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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