Largely driven by APAC and North America, the global home laundry appliances market posted a robust 4 percent volume growth in 2017. Also, China and the United States of America led sales of connected models. Although the main global market trend remains larger capacity, niche demand growth on dual-drum and compact home laundry appliances is gaining momentum. With growing healthy living awareness among consumers, a self-cleaning function is becoming more critical for product differentiation and the success of laundry. Rapid urbanization and household income growth have been fuelling upgrade demand growth in APAC. Economic recovery and low mortgage rates in the United States of America supported housing market growth, benefiting demand for home laundry appliances in North America.
The sanitization function of home laundry appliances used to focus on clothes during washing cycles. As a result of social media and word of mouth, consumer awareness of dirt between the inner and outer drums is growing. Drum cleaning is troublesome for consumers, while professional services are expensive, especially in developed markets. Also, one of the barriers for laundry sharing is the concern for hygiene among consumers. Thus, further development of self-cleaning models will be critical. Many current connected home laundry appliances have only a remote control function, for which the premium is hardly justifiable for consumers. For mass market adoption, it is critical to add more valuable functions such as fabric identification, accurate dispensing, and detergent purchase, among others. This can be achieved through active collaboration with key players in other industries, such as apparel.