Strong growth in the African air-conditioning market

Africa is gaining more attention as a potential market in the current sluggish global economic environment
According to data from China customs, the number of Chinese and Korean manufactured air conditioners exported from China to Africa reached 2.3 million units in 2011, representing annual growth of 21% compared with 2010. This was followed by another sharp increase of 70% in the first half of 2012.

Africa is generally gaining more attention as a potential market in the current sluggish global economic environment. The continent has a population of 1 billion, accounting for 15% of the global population. According to JARN, total air-conditioner demand in Africa at around 2.3 million units is the equivalent of only 2.4% of the global air-conditioner market. These conditions give the African market large growth potential.

Furthermore, Africa’s power and housing infrastructure is gradually improving, with the influence of investments, in particular from China and Korea. In October 2012, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecasted weak global growth for 2012 and 2013. However, Africa has maintained steady economic development over the past decade and it is estimated that the economy of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) will grow 5.8% in 2012.

Chinese and Korean companies are seizing the opportunity and taking the lead in capturing market shares by establishing local manufacturing facilities, in particular for refrigerators, a sector in which localization reduces the cost of shipping.

Air-conditioner companies, whether Korean (LG and Samsung) or Chinese (TCL, Changhong and Hisense) are bringing air conditioners to Africa. Other companies such as Haier and Galanz are also selling white goods on the continent and the Japanese company Panasonic is developing business plans for Africa up until 2016.

The major regional markets in Africa in 2011 were Egypt (575 000 units), South Africa (370 000 units), Nigeria (430 000 units), Algeria (200 000 units) and Morocco (110 000 units).

JARN, December 2012