World compressor market trends

The global compressor market is still dominated by the rotary compressor segment, which has benefited from the rapid growth of the residential air-conditioning market for more than 20 years.

According to JARN, the main figures characterizing the world refrigerating compressor market are the following:

  • Rotary compressors: Rotary compressor production is concentrated in Asia, most notably in China, as well as in Thailand, Japan and Malaysia. The two rotary compressor giants are GMCC and Gree. Demand is very strong in China (141.7 million) and Southeast Asia (18.5). There was major market demand for higher capacity rotary compressors, which was addressed by the development of twin-rotary compressors. Twin-rotary compressors are now used in room and packaged air conditioners, in variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems and in refrigeration applications where they are competing with scroll compressors. Advanced rotary compressor technology has greatly improved the heating performance of heat pumps, even in cold climates.

  • Scroll compressors: As the world’s largest market, the United States indicated 5.1% growth in 2018 when China, as the world’s second largest market, presented a decrease of 6.9%. Scroll compressor applications are numerous and tend to vary somewhat from one region to another. Modular chillers and air-to-water heat pumps using scroll compressors are being more widely used.

  • Screw compressors: In the air-conditioning field, the two major markets in China and Europe are in a downturn due to competition into their capacity range from both parallel scroll compressor units and magnetic-levitation centrifugal units. Meanwhile, energy-efficient water-cooled inverter screw chillers are becoming competitive compared with centrifugal chillers in the United States and China. In addition, screw compressors for heat-pump applications are experiencing rapid growth in many countries.

  • Reciprocating compressors: generally speaking, reciprocating compressors for air conditioners see a drop in sales but sales for refrigeration applications continue to rise year after year. In particular, demand for hermetic reciprocating compressors for light commercial refrigeration increased by 2.3% in 2018. Growth was seen also in cold storage applications.

  • Centrifugal compressors: Production and sales of centrifugal chillers are concentrated in China and the US. The 2.6% increase of the market in 2018 is attributable to the rapid development of the magnetic-bearing centrifugal compressor market in recognition for its energy savings, low noise and easy maintenance. Australia, Europe and the US have the largest sales volume of magnetic-bearing centrifugal compressors.

JARN, March 25, 2019