World HAC&R Compressors

World HAC&R compressors by application, by volume (units), 2021

BSRIA has just completed its study on the Global market for compressors used in applications for Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, and Refrigeration. The set of six reports covers Americas, China, EMEA, India, Japan /rest of Asia, and a combined World overview. Each regional report consists of detailed data on compressor sales and an analysis of the trends in the market.

“In 2021, the world market for compressors was estimated to reach 486 million units. The impact of COVID-19 has eased and all segments have resumed growth.”

The global compressor market has recovered forcefully and is estimated at 486 million units in 2021, and a value of USD 42.4 billion. This includes compressors for air conditioning (200 million units), heat pumps (5 million), and refrigeration (281 million). This strong rebound, driven in particular by rotary compressors in air conditioning applications, places the market above its pre-pandemic level.

Reciprocating compressors dominate the market in volume with an estimated 279 million units sold in 2021, as the use of small hermetic for household and light commercial appliances account for the largest segment. In second place come rotary compressors (190 million), which are sold mostly for AC applications and heat pumps. Scroll are in the third place with 16 million units; this compressor type is being challenged by rotary in the lower capacities, but they are gaining market share in larger capacity segments on the other hand as their performances increase.

Screw compressors are largely used above a threshold of 250-300 kW, in both AC and REF applications. Centrifugal oil-free compressors compete with screw but their use is more limited, due to their cost premium. Screw is expected to be a dynamic market with sales progressing steadily up until 2023, encouraged by the implementation of inverter technology. Oil free centrifugal compressors are expected to gain market share in AC and heat pumps, while standard centrifugal remain consistent.

China is by far the largest producer and purchaser of compressors, in particular rotary and scroll, which are used in the assembly of finished products. However, with the US-China trade war, and the signing of the RCEP transforming Asia into the largest free-trade bloc in history, change is expected with production of AC units shifting to other countries such as Thailand, and sales of compressors growing as a result.

In Americas, refrigeration is the largest segment in the market, totalling 19.5 million units in 2021, with high volumes of hermetic reciprocating compressors for residential applications. Air conditioning is the second largest application with 8.6 million units, a drop of 10.3% compared with the previous year due to COVID-19. Rotary and especially scroll account for the largest share of AC compressors. The heat pump market is somewhat nascent in Americas, with a mere 0.4 million compressors sold for this application, concentrated in North America.

With the rapid growth taking place in the residential AC market in EMEA, accompanied by a rise in production, sales of rotary and scroll compressors to this region are expected to surge.

The heat pump market in 2020 held up remarkably well especially in EMEA despite COVID, and their future looks bright as they are surfing a wave of legislation and other drivers for the decarbonisation of buildings.

India is yet a small compressor market, but it is forecast to grow rapidly as production of AC and REF units is expanding. There is as yet no heat pump market in this region, and it is almost non-existent in SEA countries, where the strongest potential exists in AC markets.

World HAC&R compressors by application, by volume (units), 2021