Market Overview: Growth in housing starts and retrofits stand to have a positive impact on the sale of more energy efficient appliances over the next several years, with revenue expected from their sales expected to rise at 1.1 percent per year to more than $16.5 billion through 2020.
Many large appliance—such as refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, washer/dryers and ranges—have traditionally been, and continue to be, manufactured in the United States with high domestic content by both foreign and domestically owned companies. However, some foreign owned companies still build and ship large appliances from overseas despite the amount of U.S.-based appliance manufacturing. Small appliances—like microwaves, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers—are made exclusively outside the United States.
The appliances market is very mature. As consumers prefer established brands there is little space for new companies to enter the market. In contrast to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) market, the concentration of large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the appliance industry is very high, with the top four companies accounting for more than 75 percent of industry revenue in 2016. One U.S.-owned OEM – Whirlpool – has almost 40 percent of the market. However, imports are expected to grow as a segment of appliance purchases in the coming years given rising input costs (such as steel and plastic) and a stronger dollar.
All of the major appliance manufacturers are committed to innovation in the market, especially as a way to attract new customers. Smart appliances, which operate during optimal times when energy is most abundant and the cheapest, are growing in popularity even if they require the use of a smart meter. Products like tankless water heaters—traditionally manufactured by Asian OEMs—are in demand in the United States and increasingly being made domestically by U.S.-owned companies, including Bradford White and American Water Heaters. Control systems manufactured overseas have limited assembly/finishing in the United States while those manufactured by companies based here have high domestic content. Companies face continual pricing pressures as a growing number of competitors introduce more technologically advanced systems.