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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:
reach-in and walk-in refrigerators and freezers
beverage refrigeration equipment (e.g., drinking fountains, beer dispensing equipment)
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.
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
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
Global demand for commercial refrigeration equipment in the food retail market is forecast to grow 2.1% annually through 2024 to $13.8 billion. The retail market for commercial refrigeration equipment is projected to strengthen significantly post-pandemic, aided by and improvement in economic conditions around the world and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Many of the factors that drove growth during the last decade will once again cause the market to expand, including:
increasing consumption of refrigerated food and beverage products in developing Asia/Pacific, Africa/Mideast, and Central and South American nations
the introduction of new refrigeration technologies
Additionally, with operators in many parts of the world delaying equipment purchases in 2020, replacement product demand is expected to accelerate during the post-pandemic recovery.
Demand for Food & Beverages Remained Strong in 2020 Despite Decline in Equipment Sales
In 2020, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic globally had a profound impact on the global economy. Consumer spending and fixed investment declined in many parts of the world, as most countries instituted lockdowns and restricted business operation and capacity. As a result, sales of commercial refrigeration equipment installed in food retail applications fell approximately 10% in 2020.
However, consumer demand for food and beverage products remained strong, and in some cases even became elevated as concerns about shortages led to panic buying and stockpiling. Consumers continued to need to eat, and many who used to dine more frequently away from the home chose to stay home, and this prevented the retail market from seeing the more extreme losses registered by the foodservice market. Additionally, numerous food and beverage retailers invested in new refrigeration equipment to meet rapidly changing shopping behavior. In the US, for instance, a large number of retailers began to offer curbside pick-up, resulting in a rise in sales of refrigeration machinery used to keep these goods cold while awaiting pickup.
Technological Innovation to Drive Long-Term Growth
Following the delay of many trade shows and product launches, the introduction of new commercial refrigeration technologies – which offer superior performance, reduced energy consumption, and increased versatility – will spur both new and replacement equipment sales globally. Furthermore, market gains will be boosted by the adoption of new technologies will be encouraged by the implementation of:
new food and beverage safety regulations
environmental and technical standards for refrigeration
Concerns about the environmental impact of refrigerants will intensify in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, further enhancing the appeal of new models.
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.