Market Overview: Many large appliances—such as refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, washers/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. Major household appliance manufacturers employ large numbers of workers at large facilities, mainly in the South and Midwest. However, some foreign-owned companies still build and ship large appliances from overseas, and U.S.-based appliance manufacturers face growing pressure from imports. Small appliances—like microwaves—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 appliance industry is dominated by a few major manufacturers. The three biggest players—Haier Corporation, Whirlpool, and Electrolux AB—make up a large market share. The appliance industry experienced strong growth between 2015 and 2020 but was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to lower consumer spending.[i] In terms of affordability, a 2020 BlueGreen Alliance Foundation analysis of ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerators, clothes washers, and clothes dryers revealed that U.S. assembled products are cost-competitive with similar foreign assembled products and that the least expensive of them often are made in the U.S.[ii]
Major appliance manufacturers are making innovative and energy-efficient products due to higher energy efficiency standards and competition from overseas. 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 are in demand in the United States and are increasingly being made domestically by U.S.-owned companies, including Bradford White and American Water Heaters. [iii]