World Air Conditioning Markets during 2020 global pandemicApril 2021

After the publication of several air conditioning market reports in the last few months (September 2020 update, European and US in-depth reports and Regional European study), BSRIA successfully completed its analysis on the World Air Conditioning markets - taking the impact of coronavirus in different parts of the world into consideration, in March 2021.

The pandemic created an enormous economic downturn worldwide, which has been felt at every level of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. The commercial sector was hit particularly hard in every part of the world, customer demand has changed, and operation and planning among HVAC manufacturers and distributors have changed. On the positive side, following evolving customer behaviour and needs, new opportunities, technologies, and approaches have been created.

In 2020, the global market is estimated at around 150 million units with a corresponding value of more than USD 100 billion. This represents a notable decline in terms of volume and value compared to 2019.


In the US, the residential market was in robust growth; however, the large VRF market fell as commercial offices, hospitality and education, which are the most common VRF applications, were worst hit by the pandemic. The mini VRF market managed to close 2020 with positive growth as this market benefits from the increasing popularity in both single and multi-family homes. On the commercial segments, sales of chillers remained soft, and recovery is expected in 2021. The rooftop and indoor packaged markets were heavily penalised by the Covid-19 crisis. The air side is focusing on Indoor Air Quality. Sales in Latin America was badly affected by COVID, which impacted on overall sales. Brazil saw air conditioning sales down by 4.6%. The expected recovery of the air conditioning market in H2 of 2021 might be delayed as tightened disposable income and low investment represent a risk to the outlook, due to pro-longed impact of COVID-19.

Asia and Australia

Chinese manufacturers closed their factories and the shipment of goods came to holt earlier in the year. Overall, the Chinese air conditioning market recovered by controlling the pandemic and promoting local consumption and infrastructure projects. Malaysian AC market is expected to resume growth in 2021 but is not expected to reach 2019 levels until 2023. Singapore was significantly affected by the pandemic, while Vietnam remained one of the fastest growing air conditioning markets in Asia due to a continuously growing economy, as well as high demand among residential and commercial customers. In Japan, home working and the weather saved the residential market whilst the commercial market contracted. The split market in South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia ended considerably down as transmission control and social distancing measures have contributed to making household welfare less secure. In Australia, the home builders grant scheme pulled the high wall residential market up. 

Middle East and India

In Saudi Arabia and UAE commercial products experienced a major business disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and lack of larger construction projects. In India sales of all AC products were down in 2020 due to major business disruption caused by the pandemic and with the latest surge in infections, recovery is likely to be delayed.


In Italy and Russia, AHU sales benefitted from the increase in the demand for ventilation due to Covid-19. In France, Spain and Germany splits experienced another year of growth, due to investment into the residential market, whilst the market for VRF declined. The chiller market in the UK noticed a trend towards heat pumps and bivalent systems. Economic slowdown, currency fluctuations, continued contraction in the construction sector and the impact of Covid-19 hit the Turkish chiller market in 2020.

World Market for Air Conditioning 2021/R2020

Download the flyer to find out more.