Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance Magazine
Growing in general, dryer sector saw large needs in particular regions
Dryer-washer combos, with a year-on-year growth of 34.9% by online sales volume and 41.7% by online sales value, accounted for 32.3% and 41.2% of the online market of front-loading washing machines respectively from January to November 2018, according to China Market Monitor. At offline market, the share it took was 21.4% by sales volume and 29.8% by value respectively, with a retail sales growth of 33.4% by volume and 30.1% by value year-on-year respectively.
As to separate dryers, the market size is not as much, but the growing momentum is exciting. Xing Zheyin, Product Director of the Washing Machine Center of TCL’s White Goods Division, believes the annual sales volume of separate drying machines stands at more than 1 million units currently. Statistics from China Market Monitor suggests that in-store sales of dryers grew by 37.7% year-on-year by sales value and 22.5% by sales volume from January to November 2018.
Lin Shuli, Marketing Director of Laundry Products of Greater China Region of BSH China, believes that, “dryer market is now in the same place where dishwashers was two years ago, gearing up to rise.”
Consumers’ demands for dryers and dryer-washer combos show regional differences. Shan Lengxuan, General Manager of Refrigeration and Laundry Products of Whirlpool China, says, “Currently, drying demands mainly come from consumers in South China and the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River, where the moistness in plum rain season makes drying clothes a headache. For this reason, dryers and dryer-washer combos gain widespread acceptance in these regions.” He believes that, these consumers will stay even after the plum rain season, thanks to the healthier and cleaner drying experience as well as the privacy drying machines offer compared to the traditional way of hanging clothes out in the air.
Industry insiders are optimistic when it comes to the future of drying machines. Lin Shuli says, “I strongly believe washing machine industry is about to embrace an overall upgrade with drying function being a crucial trend. Dryer-washer combo is only a transitional product, I believe consumers in pursuit of a better living would prefer a laundry package that include a separate washing machine and a separate dryer.”
With more entrants, the sector saw upgraded products and product mixes
The promising market potential draws in an increased number of industry players with dryer-washer combos or dryers placed on the market. It is learned that, many front runners of the industry such as Haier, BSH China, Little Swan, Samsung and Panasonic have rolled out dryer-washer combos and dryers; Whirlpool China, with no drying machines on Chinese market currently, plans to start its R&D and production of heat pump clothes dryers starting from May 2019; TCL have launched its deployment too while currently develops on an OEM basis.
With more and more entrants in the industry, the product mix of laundry industry changes. The average capacity of dryer-washer combos goes up, consistent with the trend of washing machines.
Industry players continue to improve their technologies to meet Chinese consumers’ drying needs. For example, BSH adds targeted functions such as “healthy heating” and “feather heating” for Chinese consumers to its drying machines; Hisense applies its unique self-cleaning condensing technology on its Master series, which hit stores last year.
Both combos and separate dryers have large potential to be tapped
When it comes to future development, Lin Shuli believes that both products have potential to be unleashed. She says, “Chinese market is huge, which means consumers’ demands are diversified too. While some consumers choose combos to meet their needs, others in pursuit of high quality living prefer heat pump drying machines.”
Currently, dryer-washer combos dominate the market with an overwhelming share, while separate drying machines grow at double-digit rates. Shan Lengxuan believes that, combos will continue to lead the market in three years to come, but after that, the market size of separate drying machines could surpass combos to be the largest sub category of this sector considering its fast growing pace.