Major and Small Domestic Appliances Stay Stable Despite Pandemic
Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the market of Small Domestic Appliances (SDA) and Major Domestic Appliances (MDA) were stable, according to Gfk. SDA market grew by a solid +8.6 percent, while MDA (including Air Conditioners) experienced limited losses of -8.6 percent in value terms.
Although the pandemic had a significant negative impact on sales due to retail shutdowns, the increased focus on the at-home experiences drove a sales recovery in May and June. Sales of appliances addressing the new challenges generated by the enforced need to “eat at home”, “clean at home” and “groom at home” soared. This includes microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, beard trimmers and multi-grooming kits.
For some categories, entire seasons were lost due to COVID-19, for example, Air conditioners. Overall, MDA (excluding Air Conditioners) only lost -3.7 percent in value terms, even less than the total -5.8 percent for the tech & durables (TCG) market. Whatever the appliance, the overall trends driving choice for consumers of performance, simplification, health hygiene and borderless shopping have become more relevant than ever.
A clear demand shift from “want” to “need” was evident from the onset of the pandemic. As people stockpiled (frozen) food, the immediate need for more storage capacity boosted sales of freezers. Once the stockpiling moderated, next came a strong drive for food preparation appliances. The trend to ‘eat at home’ continued strongly post-lockdown. Just as “eat at home” triggered sales for the cooking categories, other challenges like “groom at home” along with hygiene concerns and the non-availability of salons catalyzed sales of multi-grooming kits (+53 percent) and beard trimmers (+56 percent). Similarly, the “clean-at-home” trend triggered sales of vacuum cleaners (+10 percent) and dishwashers (+5.6 percent).
When the world has moved in-home, any appliance that simplified life and saved consumers time on chores was much appreciated, hence multi-functional and smart appliances are growing in popularity. With 21 percent turnover growth in 2020, washing machines with automatic dosage function are a prime example of this trend.
During the global lockdowns, consumers were forced to shop more online. E-commerce shares witnessed a steady increase for both MDA and SDA. Many first-time buyers too overcame initial barriers to purchase online. The share of online was 29 percent for MDA and 45 percent for SDA, and in both sectors it’s up by nearly 10 percentage points compared to 2019. Most notable is the fact that this online growth did not vanish once shops reopened.
In Europe, traditional shops online sales boosted by +64 percent compared to last year, surpassing the growth of online pure players who ‘grew by less than 20 percent for MDA excluding air conditioners. Similar observations were noted for SDA.