Urbanization, due to which the number of modern retail stores and supermarkets has increased, has led the way for the usage of commercial refrigeration equipment. In addition, it has also led to an increase in the workforce in countries like China, India, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. This has resulted in an increment in the trend of eating out at restaurants and consuming packaged food. To offer people with busy lifestyles more convenience, the online retailing of fresh as well as frozen food is picking up, which is augmenting the demand for refrigeration in commercial spaces.
Among the different equipment types used for refrigeration in commercial spaces, walk-in coolers witnessed the highest demand in the past. This was due to the changing food patterns, visible in the rising consumption of frozen foods. As the purchasing power of customers has also increased, hypermarket and supermarket chains have expanded, thereby driving the demand for walk-in coolers in the APAC region. Moreover, ice-making machinery is predicted to grow in demand in the coming years due to the increasing number of bars, cafes, and many other food outlets.
This is consistent with the fact that within the commercial sector, refrigerators are majorly bought by entities dealing in the food service business. Here, maintaining and preserving the food quality till it reaches diners are vital. The increasing income of consumers has inclined them toward dining out, which has led to a rise in the number of restaurants, where commercial refrigeration equipment plays a crucial role in ensuring optimum food quality.
There are three major APAC commercial refrigeration equipment market players, among which United Technologies Corporation makes the largest number of sales. Other major manufacturers offering this equipment in the APAC region are S.A.I., AB Electrolux, Illinois Tool Works Inc., Hussmann Corporation, and Johnson Controls International Plc. According to P&S Intelligence, they are shifting from fluorinated refrigerants to natural refrigerants because of the increasing global warming concerns. For instance, Japan has modified its F-Gas Law, while China has released a potential list of gases that can be used as the refrigerant.
The demand for such systems in the region dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to combat which governments enforced lockdowns. The food service industry was among the hardest hit by the lockdowns as all restaurants, bars, cafes, and pubs were closed down. with the dropping case count, restaurants are opening again, albeit with restrictions on the number of diners. In the coming months, as this industry opens further, the demand for refrigeration equipment will start to rise.
Therefore, the changes in the lifestyle of people due to urbanization are pushing up the requirement for commercial refrigeration equipment in the APAC region.