Global Commercial Refrigeration Equipment: Food Retail Market

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Refrigeration Equipment

This study covers the global commercial refrigeration equipment used in retail applications. . Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 and 2029 are provided in US dollars.

Commercial refrigeration products are defined as freestanding pieces of equipment that provide cold storage for commercial and industrial end users such as food retailers, restaurants, and manufacturing plants.

Key products in the scope of this report include:

  • display cases
  • reach-in and walk-in refrigerators and freezers
  • beverage refrigeration equipment (e.g., drinking fountains, beer dispensing equipment)
  • ice machines
  • refrigerated vending machines
  • other commercial refrigeration equipment, such as dairy coolers, refrigerated food preparation stations, and batch freezers)
  • replacement parts, including condensers, compressors, filters, seals, and valves (parts sold to OEM suppliers are excluded)

Excluded from the scope of this report are consumer type refrigerators, transportation refrigeration systems, and large industrial refrigeration products such as evaporative air coolers and condensing units.

Applications for commercial refrigeration equipment in the food retail industry include the storage of food and beverage products on the sales floor and in storerooms. Among the retail food establishments included here are convenience stores, mass merchandisers, and supermarkets.

Refrigeration Equipment

Demand by Region

Global demand for commercial refrigeration equipment in the food retail market is forecast to expand 2.1% annually to $13.8 billion in 2024, an improvement over the 2014-2019 performance. Intensity of retail demand for these products – relative to urban population size – differs considerably from region to region, reflecting variation among regions in:

  • levels of consumer spending on food and beverage products
  • the number of grocery stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, and other food retail outlets in operation
  • the extent of high-end commercial refrigeration equipment use in food and beverage retail applications
  • the regulatory framework governing food and beverage retailers and manufacturers of refrigeration machinery

Through 2024, North America and the Asia/Pacific region are projected to account for 79% of all new product demand.

North America will post the largest gains globally as consumers in the US and Canada increasingly turn to supermarkets and other food retail establishments:

  • Businesses in these two nations will also upgrade and expand existing facilities in response to potential health concerns. In addition, new retail establishments are being built (e.g., discount/limited retailers ALDI, Lidl), generating additional product demand.
  • In Mexico, market gains will be bolstered by the growth in the number of food and beverage retailers operating in the nation and more intensive use of commercial refrigeration equipment by Mexican retail establishments.

The Asia/Pacific region’s retail market for commercial refrigeration equipment is forecast to record the second largest gains, reflecting the massive populations of China and India, as well as the presence of highly developed nations like Japan and South Korea. Rising personal incomes will spur commercial equipment spending and encourage the construction of new retail establishments. As the electricity networks of Asia/Pacific nations are upgraded through 2024, the intensity of commercial refrigeration equipment use will increase and consumers will purchase more frozen and refrigerated foods.

Growth in Western Europe is expected to lag the average worldwide pace through 2024 to some extent. Food and beverage retailers in most regional countries are already intensive users of sophisticated refrigeration technologies, reflecting the region’s demanding health, safety, and environmental regulations. Nonetheless, Western Europe’s significant replacement needs will continue to support the expansion of its retail market for commercial refrigeration machinery.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated market weakness in Eastern Europe and Central and South America, restraining further gains between 2019 and 2024. Additionally, political and economic turmoil in Belarus, Ukraine, Venezuela, and other parts of these regions will also continue to dampen their growth prospects.

The Africa/Mideast region, on the other hand, will register solid market gains, as:

  • Multiple developing markets see the use of commercial refrigeration equipment increase rapidly, albeit from low bases.
  • Rapid economic development in parts of the Middle East – supported by revenues derived from oil and natural gas and inflows of foreign capital – will drive sales of more sophisticated models.

Technology & New Product Development

Smart Technology

Like home appliance manufacturers, commercial refrigeration equipment companies have begun incorporating monitoring and analytical capabilities, along with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity – “smart technology” – into their products. These features allow customers to:

  • observe and adjust temperature, humidity, and power usage
  • receive alerts if conditions fall outside any specific climate thresholds due to maintenance issues or equipment failures
  • keep track of food and beverage inventories and expiration dates in retail environments

System adaptation is also an important function of smart technology. With the help of smart sensors, these systems can measure the temperature and humidity inside refrigeration equipment, and then adjust settings based on the collected data.

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