In 2012, Whirlpool continued to be the largest manufacturer in the United States home laundry appliances market, with a 46% volume share. Sears Holding followed with a 21% share, whilst General Electric and LG Electronics were positioned with 12% and 11% volume shares, respectively.
The growing trend of steam washers and dryers continued to gain ground in 2012, with several appliance brands, including Samsung, LG, Whirlpool and Kenmore, carrying steam-based laundry appliances. Steam has surfaced as a highly effective and eco-conscious alternative to traditional washers and dryers. It provides a balance for consumers between gentleness and remarkable sanitisation, which is particularly appealing for those with children or people with severe allergies as the steam can effectively break up allergens. Furthermore, steam technology offers the ability to clean and also reduce the amount of water, energy and detergent used. As steam reduces the amount of water needed to wash a full load, its technology is particularly important in drought-prone areas. As dryers are also fitted with steam technology, they provide a remarkable substitution for dry cleaning, particularly with automated tumble features which prevent wrinkling.
The forecast for home laundry appliances looks promising. Volume sales are expected to increase by a CAGR of 4% to reach 16.5 million units by 2017. Value sales are expected to increase by a CAGR of 6% in constant terms to reach US$8.3 billion in the forecast period. Ultimately, the expected sales will remain 6% under the volume sales experienced during the height of the housing boom. However, moderate growth will be bolstered by the economic recovery and turnaround in the housing market.
- Home laundry appliances declines by 2% in volume terms to reach 13 million units
- Current value sales, however, see negligible growth to reach US$6.2 billion in 2012
- Front-loading washing machines see an increase in volume share in 2012
- Freestanding tumble dryers suffers the least in home laundry appliances, facing a volume decline of 2% to reach 6 million units
- There is a broad unit price increase all categories in home laundry appliances in an attempt to bolster operating margins for manufacturers and to combat increasing raw materials costs
- Whilst Whirlpool Corp remains the leader in home laundry appliances, it sees its share drop by half a percentage point. Sears Holdings is the second largest company with a 21% volume share
- Freestanding tumble dryers and freestanding automatic washing machines are expected to see the highest volume CAGRs in the forecast period, both of 4%. Washer dryers is expected to see a slightly lower volume CAGR of 3% in the forecast period
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