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BSRIA study identifies opportunities to tackle cooling sector Covid challenges - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

BSRIA study identifies opportunities to tackle cooling sector Covid challenges - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

BSRIA sales data for the global air conditioning market during the six months from March 2020 has shown different levels of disruption as a result of Covid-19.

The trade association said it interviewed major manufacturers and distributors from at least 20 different countries to look at the true impacts of the ongoing pandemic for the first half of 2020.  A key consequence of the findings has seen BSRIA revising sales predictions for products such as split systems, VRF, rooftop and chiller technologies.

The revised figures form the basis for the organisation’s latest Global AC market study that seeks to assess market performance for 2020 and understand where industry may be heading over the next five years.

BSRIA concluded, “Supply chain and production were disrupted across the world in the first six months of the year due to pandemic-related lockdowns. Chinese manufacturers closed their factories and shipments of goods came to a halt for several months.”

A major finding of the study was the difference in impacts in different regions of the world and for different types of products.

There was a serious fall in sales for cooling products for most countries during the second quarter of 2020, according to the study.  BSRIA said that China has seen a significant fall in sales during Q1 of 2020 – with a gradual recovery commencing by April.

A shift to home working in Europe during a near continent wide lockdown earlier this year meanwhile saw some opportunities for the residential air conditioner market in the region.  The study found consumers looked to invest money into air conditioning for their homes during the summer months.

BSRIA added, “Such attitudes have softened the blow and, as with other consumer products, online sales of residential AC products have increased sharply.”

The market for large split system with a capacity of over 5kW and VRF Units were the hardest hit sectors of the industry as a result of Covid-19 closing retail outlets and large parts of the hospitality sectors for significant periods of time, according to the study.

A fall in sales of equipment form the hospitality sector was partly offset by demand for buildings that were repurposed for functions such as healthcare with VRFs and Dedicated Outdoor Air System technologies being installed to meet ventilation demand, according to the study.

Offices are also expected to see growth in demand for HVACR equipment to address demand for thermal comfort and systems that can manage air supply.  Likewise, increased on-line sales had seen an increase in cooling equipment from the warehouse sector.

BSRIA said, “Overall, products mostly installed in medium to large non-residential projects have taken a deeper sales dive as such projects have often been disrupted by site closures, interrupted supply chains and social distancing rules as well as absenteeism of migrant workers.

“Under the current economic climate, a significant number of projects were also postponed or put on hold according to the HVAC manufacturers.”

Alongside the challenges posed by Covid-19, the study identified new opportunities for the cooling sector in both the residential and non-residential sector with regard to air quality.

Products that are able to self-clean and ventilate or offer other air purification functions were seen as being in great demand as manufacturers sought to launch new products to meet consumer need.

Sensors and controls that can be integrated into building management systems to monitor and respond to air quality were also seen as being in higher demand.

BSRIA said it was also focused on launching a study into the different types of technologies and solutions to improve indoor air quality to address a lack of research into the area at present.