Major trends in the global commercial refrigeration market

The global commercial refrigeration market, half of which is made up of the refrigerated display cabinet segment, amounted to USD 71 billion in 2021, up 8.8% year-on-year and 14% over four years. 

According to JARN (1), the global refrigeration* market value in 2021 reached USD 107.7 billion. Of this total, commercial refrigeration represented USD 71.0 billion (65.9%), industrial refrigeration amounted to USD 30.9 billion (28.7%) and transportation reached USD 5.8 billion (5.4%). All these figures include services such as installation and maintenance. This figure of USD 107.7 billion for the refrigeration market is up 5.7% from 2020 (year marked by the pandemic) and up 11.8% from 2017. 

In terms of regions, North America was the largest world’s market (32.3%) in 2021, followed by Asia (27.0%), Europe (23.1%) while the other regions represented 17.6%. 


Focus on the commercial refrigeration market 

The global commercial refrigeration market grew by 8.8% between 2020 and 2021 and 14.0% between 2017 and 2021. The major segment of this market is that of refrigerated display cabinets which represented 50.4% in 2021. The other components of this market are beverage coolers (12.9%), ice machines (8.0%), vending machines (5.4%), other commercial equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and condensing units (15.7%) and other components (7.6%).  


The strongest growth in the refrigerated display cabinet market between 2020 and 2021 was observed in Europe (+16.3%), China (+14.8%), Japan (+12.5%) and the US (+11.3%).  

In the broader area of the cold chain, it is worth noting the very strong progress of the cold chain for pharmaceutical products in China, which reached USD 85.3 billion, an increase of approximately 48% year-on-year. 


The main trends observed by JARN in terms of commercial refrigeration are as follows: 


  • In developped countries such as Japan, European countries and the US, there is a marked growth in small supermarkets or convenience stores when the number of large shopping centers and supermarkets tends to stagnate or decline. In South-East Asian countries such as Vietnam, modern supermarkets are rapidly replacing traditional retail stores, especially thanks to foreign investments. 
  • Within developed economies, the demand for nutritious and convenient quick-frozen food is expected to experience strong growth. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global frozen food market is projected to reach USD 312.3 billion by 2025, up nearly 30% from 2020 ; The United States is currently the world's largest market in terms of frozen food consumption, ahead of Europe and Japan. 
  • At the initiative of Japan, the optimization of cooling and heating management technologies in convenience stores has achieved some progress. In these stores, refrigerated display cabinets and freezers operate 24 hours a day, consuming large amounts of energy, and commercial air conditioners are also installed. Ways of saving energy and achieving minimum total energy consumption on these two consumption items, primarily via heat recovery, have become major issues investigated by many air conditioner manufacturers. 
  • Several retail giants have implemented strategic plans in the areas of intelligent stores and smart convenience stores. Cold chain full-process freshness management is expected to be achieved jointly by the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and the Cloud. 
  • Concerning refrigerants, the use of CO2 and propane (R290) is increasing in commercial refrigeration ; in countries such as Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, newly opened chain stores and convenience stores have all installed refrigeration equipment using CO2. The penetration rate of CO2 in Italy, Spain and France, which have a warmer climates, is currently lower. Globally, an estimated 2.5 million R290 refrigerated display cases have been installed in supermarkets since 2019. Europe has been the leader in this trend, but major retail chains in the US are increasingly following suit. Another trend is the adoption of HFOs such as R488A, for example in Japan, the US and Canada.


* commercial refrigeration, industrial refrigeration and refrigerated transport excluding air conditioning, heat pumps, domestic refrigeration and low-temperature applications 



(1) JARN Magazine September 2022 Special Issue