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World AC market reviewMay 2007

In 2006, the value of the world market for air conditioning was estimated at 53.4 US$ billion (including airside products), a 7% increase over the previous year. The airside section was included in the world study for the first time and incorporated air handling units and fan coils. In 2006, the airside market reached 4,407US$ million and the USA alone contributed to 30% of this value.

India and Russia have demonstrated exceptionally rapid market value growth of 23% and 21% respectively. In 2006, Brazil had a record minisplits growth with a 50% increase in sales volume compared to 2005.

During 2006, the European market for minisplits stalled at the level of 6.3 million units. The market was largely affected by a 12% drop in market volume in Italy as well as Spain, where sales plummeted by 20%. However, a slight increase in Greece and a strong growth in the Russian market offset these disappointing results. Ukraine is becoming a major European market for minisplits and is expected to exceed UK by volume in the near future.

2006 was a disappointing year for most Asian countries including South Korea and Thailand where the market volume for single splits slightly decreased. This was due to the sluggish growth of income levels, slowing sales to the residential segment.

The chiller market showed modest growth overall thanks to emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil and some Middle East countries, where value growth reached 15-20% per year. As such, in 2006, the Chinese market value crossed the mark of 1US$ billion.

Sales of unitary products increased by just 2% in volume overall, with some countries such as Austria and France showing negative growth. However, the Indian market increased 26% by volume thanks to strong sales of ducted splits.

VRF systems appear to be the fastest growing product type, increasingly competing with chillers. In 2006, the VRF market value was growing at double-digit percentage rates in all major countries. In Europe, the market for VRFs jumped by 40% in volume and 42% in value. Japan, China and the UK are the largest world markets in terms of value of installations.

Under growing pressure due to competition, prices for minisplits remained flat across all regions. However, rising material costs pushed average prices for central plant equipment up by 1-2% on average.

A growing awareness and concern about green technologies will continue to have a great impact on air conditioning applications in the saturated markets and will support a trend for more advanced products. It is expected that the market value of VRF systems will continue to increase rapidly.

Further information:
The new study from BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence (WMI) is available now, published March 2007. The World Air Conditioning Market Review 2007 covers 29 countries individually and also includes regional totals. Product areas covered are windows, moveables, minisplits, rooftops, indoor packaged, ducsted splits, chillers, fan coils and AHUs.

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