Impact of the changing food retail market on the HVAC&R and control segmentsJanuary 2020

This detailed strategic study provides insight on market sizes and trends of the overall market for HVAC&R and controls and the proportion that is installed in food retail premises. The products that are analysed in this study include market trends by volume and value to 2023 for:

  • Refrigeration: condensing units, compressor racks, heat exchangers, display cases,
  • Air Conditioning / heating: large packaged, Splits and VRF, Chillers and heat pumps
  • Controls: refrigeration controls, building controls

The first study published focuses on France, before other countries are analysed. All categories of retail stores are covered in the study, from large hypermarkets to small convenience stores with small refrigeration loads. This study analyses the drivers and restraints impacting on the food retail sector. In France, a shift is taking place from the past model of large hypermarkets to a model with more convenience stores located in city centres. Internet shopping and the “click & drive” model are having a strong impact on the format of stores and consequently on the type of equipment. Legislative drivers also have a major influence, including the drive away from the use of HFC refrigerants in HVAC&R equipment in food retail premises.

Refrigeration accounts for the main source of energy use in food retail. The market for condensing units is estimated at some 68,000 units in 2019. In the last three years, growth of sales in value was higher than in volume, as average prices increased due to the uptake of R134a in medium temperature applications. Growth in value is expected to remain higher, due mainly to the technical evolutions experienced in this product segment and the subsequent rise in prices of products. There is also an increase in the supply of CO2 condensing units, which will drive further this rise in the prices of products.

An estimated 4,265 compressor racks were sold in 2019 associated to the sales of remote condensers and unit coolers. Due to the uptake of CO2 racks in new installations, with one rack to provide for both positive and negative cooling, the number of units used in food retail has been declining, while the overall market still posts modest growth in volume. Growth in value is expected to be stronger as rack technology is evolving.

The market for refrigerated display cases is estimated at 110,000 units. Display cases include the following categories: remote connected to a condensing system, and integral. Within this latter category, Water Loop Self Contained (WLSC) showcases are estimated to account for about 4% of the solutions fitted in retail. These integral showcases use water as a cooling medium, or CO2 for negative cooling. Integral showcases are expected to become ever more prevalent as they are viewed as a solution to mitigate the carbon footprint of centralised systems. Some retailers also have their preferences, and only specify plug-ins in stores.

Several other aspects are analysed in this exhaustive study. Among them, the uptake of heat recovery installed with refrigeration systems, driven by CO2, which is gaining share in condensing units after compressor racks. In addition, the market for building and refrigeration controls is also an important topic, with the rise in convergence taking place between the two and remote monitoring.

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