Dishwashers makers looks for bigger growth in the future

Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance magazine

With sales performance standing out among kitchen appliances, dishwasher sector is highly expected by home appliance industry to be the fourth must-have home appliance after refrigerator, washing machine and air conditioner. But after years of marketing, the growth of dishwasher sector is still below expectation. In the past 2023, industry players put efforts in market expansion and the development of solutions to customer pain points while upgrade products.

Dishwashers are gaining popularity with a growth rate faster than the overall home appliance market and the kitchen appliance market. From January to September 2023, retail sales value of dishwashers stood at 7.56 billion Yuan, up 7.3% YoY, according to All View Cloud. My interviewee from Fotile explains that the growth has been made thanks to the unlocked pent-up demand after the pandemic and the improved product quality from the supply side. Consumers now pay an increased attention to tableware hygiene after the pandemic. This, coupled with consumers’ pursuit of quality life, drives dishwasher from a complement to a must-have of a Chinese kitchen. Besides, the suspended house furnishing and decoration during the pandemic recovers, leading to a fast recovery of in-store sales. I learned from my interviewees that Haier, Midea, BSH Home Appliances, Fotile, Robam, Vatti, Vanward all saw good performance of dishwasher business in 2023.

From the product design perspective, it’s obvious that the number of place settings in mainstream dishwashers has been growing from 13 last year to 14 this year, and products with 14 or more place settings account for more than 50% of the market. Built-in models, portable models and portable/convertible models have expanded presence in the market with built-in models accounting for around 60% as the mainstream but countertop models and in-sink models shrinking in market share.

It’s worth noting that integrated in-sink dishwasher that integrates the functions of appliances such as dishwasher, fruit and vegetable washer, tableware disinfecting cabinet, as an emerging category, rises to take a considerable market share. The design of integrated dishwashers must consider the integrated needs of different appliances in the sink to achieve a combined innovation while ensure the performance of the dishwasher.

Though the market growth of dishwashers is well ahead of the overall home appliance market with mainstream brands posting good performances, dishwasher enterprises are still wondering-why the penetration rate of dishwashers is still low after years of promotion? What could drive more Chinese families to buy a dishwasher? During the interview, many interviewees agree that the penetration rate of dishwashers in the Chinese market is around 3%, which is far lower than that of the developed countries and regions such as Europe and the US. Breaking through the plateau has become a common concern of the industry this year.

The key to the popularization of dishwashers is the product itself. Adapting it to appeal to Chinese customers is critical for the development of the dishwasher industry. Chinese cuisine tends to be high in oil and seasoning and is served in tableware in different material and shape, making the tableware washing particularly difficult. Therefore, Chinese consumers have higher requirements for the cleaning ability and the rack design of dishwashers.

In response to these pain points, industry players develop their own solutions to make the localization of dishwasher functions unprecedentedly enhanced. For instance, Fotile has rolled out its original high-power bubble cleaning technology that could easily remove stubborn stains and oil residues. Midea has introduced its five-spray-arm cleaning technology to ensure dishes at every corner can be well cleaned. Plus, Midea also has a dishwasher detergent brand under its umbrella to offer consumers the whole package of dish washing solutions. Given consumers’ desire to wash as many utensils as possible in the limited space of a dishwasher, many brands including Midea, Panasonic, Vatti have optimized their rack design and rolled out large capacity products to allow utensils of different materials and shapes to be cleaned. Targeting many consumers’ complaints regarding the back pain from bending over, Casarte has rolled out its drawer dishwasher to allow consumers comfortably empty the dishwasher in a standing position instead of squatting or bending over.

Another challenge in the Chinese market is the installation of dishwashers. And for this reason, dishwasher enterprises attach great importance to installation to offer consumers worry-free service. Chinese kitchens do not have standardized dimensions, making the installation environment for dishwashers complicated. The industry has been actively promoting the standardized installation dimensions for built-in products. In addition to this, consumer education and increased marketing efforts are still essential for dishwasher brands and the industry.