According to Commercial Refrigeration Equipment, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US is expected to have a mixed effect on commercial refrigeration equipment in 2020, with the overall impact expected to be a slight decline compared to 2019. Equipment sold to the foodservice industry will drop, with losses partially offset by continued sales of refrigerated transportation systems and equipment used by food and beverage retailers.
Demand for transportation refrigeration systems is projected to increase 3.6% per year through 2024 to $3.1 billion:
- Baseline demand will stem largely from the ongoing need for refrigerated systems to transport food and beverages.
- Additional sales will come from rising investment in e-commerce infrastructure, with online sales of groceries showing above average growth.
E-commerce will be an especially important factor to the transportation refrigeration market over the next decade, largely due the development of distribution hubs. Significant investment is occurring as companies seek to establish an infrastructure that will provide same-day delivery of food and beverages directly to the consumer. Although fresh food delivered from distribution facilities to consumers via e-commerce can require refrigeration, oftentimes the shipping packaging includes insulation and ice packs or dry ice, which can preclude the need for the package to be transported in a refrigerated truck or trailer.
Trailer refrigeration and shipping container refrigeration equipment will account for the largest absolute sales increases. These products are the most sold, as they are significantly more expensive than truck refrigeration units. Trailer and shipping container systems also need to be replaced more frequently, as they record much longer run times that result in more wear.