Washing machines have been around for quite some time, and pretty much replaced manual washing completely. How is their market performance, and how are competitors gearing up for future advancements?
In today’s day, majority of the households in the developing and developed economies own and understand the workings of a washing machine. Simply put, they make the process of washing clothes much easier. Gone are the days when people would continue scrubbing on a piece of cloth to wash the stains away, a process that consumed both time and energy. Washing machines have provided much relief to the people by doing all the dirty work itself. Just open up the machine, dump your clothes inside, add some washing detergent, and a few clicks later, the machine is ready to go.
Doing the dirty work for you
It is no surprise that washing machines have captured the market in a big way. To go a step further, the introduction of such smart, connected machines is attracting more consumers and has managed to influence a section of the customer-base to replace their old machines with their smart connected counterparts. There has been a global conscience preferring the use of smart and energy-conserving washing machines. The increase in the demand for energy-efficient and fully automatic appliances is expected to boost the industry over the coming years.
A steady growth in demand for commercial washing machines has enabled manufacturers to focus on developing heat-pump-powered dryers rather than conventional electricity & gas dryers. It is estimated that heat-pump dryers are 30% more energy efficient than traditional dryers, and thus are gaining a sizeable audience. For instance, manufacturers such as Whirlpool Corporation, Haier and LG Electronics have introduced such heat-pump dryers in their products.
More vendors are expected to adopt this technology in their product portfolio with the advent of unique and smart connected devices. Owing to the high price of these pumps, consumers are reluctant to adopt washing machines integrated with these dryers. However, the prices of these devices are expected to decline in coming years with more manufacturers implementing heat-pump dryers in the machines.
For water conservation, Xeros Ltd. developed the polymer bead cleaning that delivers energy and water savings for a cleaner laundry. These beads are reusable and have a lifecycle of hundreds of washes before recycling. As per the company, the utilization of these polymer beads facilitates 80% reduction in water used, 50% less energy consumption, and 50% less detergent as compared to the traditional washing along with delivering enhanced cleaning results. Xeros introduced three facets of this technology – the polymer beads, the machine’s drum, and the filtration system in January 2018.
Washing machines have gained high acceptance from both residential as well as commercial sectors, owing to their simplicity and ease of use. The washing machine market is seeing healthy growth, due to the following factors:
Residential washing machines are hugely popular owing to the time and energy that they save, as well as for their convenient operation.
Continued advancements in technology are being made to optimize their operation, while also increasing efficiency in all respects, which has increased market attractiveness.
Increasing urbanization drives in rural areas, as well as an increase in disposable income of the general population, has also ensured healthy growth of the market.
With the standard of living improving across the developing and underdeveloped economies, new opportunities have risen for the market players to penetrate their products.
Governments in various countries, especially in Asia-Pacific, have undertaken measures to improve living conditions of the citizens, which can positively affect the market.
A few issues for the market though persist, such as availability of online laundry services as well as laundry shops, both of which can dissuade people from buying washing machines, thus affecting the market. Proper utilization of water in the machine is also a challenge for manufacturers, seeing that the world is reeling from a water crisis for the past few years.
In the commercial sector, there is a high demand for washing machines from the hospitality and tourism industry. The increasing proportion of carbon footprints and energy resources has led this sector to adopt green practices for conserving resources and reducing their costs. Reducing the utilization of chemical, water, and energy are essential for the hospitality and hotel industries’ sustainability efforts. In order to address these efforts, vendors are racing against time to implement green initiatives.
In the news
Features such as auto optimal wash technology, automatic detergent dispenser, power wash system, cap dosing system, and steam care functions introduced by key manufacturers have distinguished their products from competitors’ products. Market players such as Electrolux AB, Samsung, Miele, Whirlpool Corporation and LG Electronics Inc. are influencing the market through introduction of new products. Some of the most recent developments include:
In September 2019, Miele announced that it was teaming up with PETexe, a team of students from the University of Exeter to introduce a new filter, which is useful to degrade and dissolve plastic microfibers that come off clothes inside the machine. The said plastic is broken down into terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, which are diluted by the volume of water present. The team would also be developing an application to monitor the filter.
In April 2019, LG Electronics USA introduced a new range of smart and Wi-Fi enabled top-load and front-load washing machines featuring advanced TurboWash™ technologies, called the TurboWash360° (for front-load machines), and the TurboWash3D™ and TurboDrum™ (for top-load machines).
In March 2019, Whirlpool introduced the FreshCare+ washing machine, which helps in keeping the laundry fresh even if it is left inside, hours after completion of the cycle. The machine also incorporates ‘SoftMove’, a system that adjusts the movement of the drum according to the type of fabric being washed.
In January 2019, Samsung introduced smart models of their washing machines, which included a feature called Laundry Planner that places control in the user’s hand as to when the cycle would be finishing. Other features to have been introduced include the Active Water Jet (for a quick pre-rinsing), Boost Spray mode, as well as app-centric features such as Laundry Recipe (recommends best cycle for the load) and HomeCare Wizard, which helps in scheduling maintenance of the machine and troubleshooting.
In-depth report on global washing machine market by Grand View Research:
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