Portable fridges are used by the residential segment of consumers for picnics, road trips, camping, trekking and various other outdoor activities. They can be commonly found in recreational vehicles (RVs) and mobile homes and are usually intended to keep food and beverages fresh and cooled for the duration of the trip.
Portable fridges also find utility in the commercial segment. They are widely employed in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other biological research-oriented sectors to store and move temperature-sensitive products. They are also used by the fisheries industry to preserve catch on boats. They are also used as bar fridges in the hospitality sector.
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The portable fridge market is fragmented due to the presence of various players in different geographic regions. Some of these players had traditionally been focussed on certain regions or countries, like Engel Australia (Oceania), Smeg (Europe), Avanti Products (India) etc., while others like Haier, Electrolux, LG Electronics, etc. had a global market reach.
However, these trends have been changing as online platforms have been gaining popularity as a distribution channel and local and regional players are keen on expanding their market reach. At the same time, electronics stores remain the dominant distribution channel, leading to strong manufacturer-vendor syndications. Several manufacturers like Danby, LG Electronics, Whirlpool, etc. sell products through direct retail store.
Key players in the market include Midea Group, ARB, Danby Appliances, Whirlpool Corporation, Dometic Group, Electrolux, Living Direct, General Electronics (GE) Appliances, Danby, Coleman, Panasonic, Engel Australia, Avanti Products, Indel B, Vinotemp International, AGA Marvel, Shaoxing Shangyu North Electron Manufacture, Haier, Chillquiet, Nedis, Koolatron, Smeg, Felix Storch, LG Electronics, Middleby Corporation, Husky International, Godrej Group, MCA Corporation, FridgeFreeze, Uber Appliance, Igenix, XElectron, Caldura, Sears Holdings Company, Whynter, Kegco, Labfreez Instruments Group, Gourmia and Tropicool Car Gadgets.
Fragmentation in the market has meant that mergers and acquisitions are a common strategy to expand market share. Meanwhile, some companies are also undertaking joint ventures to discover new opportunities in previously unexplored markets. Product innovation and new launches are also a key marketing strategy employed by most companies.
For example, Engel Australia launched its Retro Series of portable fridges, Engel MT45F-G4FT and Engel MT60F-G4FT, in 2018 that were marketed as limited edition products designed for outdoor activities like camping. Similarly, ARB launched its 50-Quart Fridge Freezer for use in automobiles like RVs, boats and trucks in 2016; its USP is that it offers a battery protection system that prevents the vehicles battery from draining. Haier, Midea Group, and Danby have also launched new products in recent years.
Some popular brands of portable fridges available in the market include Whirlpool Corporation’s KitchenAid, Electrolux’s Frigidaire, Living Direct’s EdgeStar, Husky International’s Rubiks Cube, LG Electronics’ Signature, Sears Holdings Company’s Kenmore, Felix Storch’s FiveStar and Middleby Corporation’s U-Line. Meanwhile, several other manufacturers label products under own brand names, such as ARB, Danby, Haier, Xelectron, GE, etc.
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Drivers of the Portable Fridge Market
High disposable incomes in recent years have been the lead driver of the market in recent years as people have displayed a tendency to opt for comfortable outdoor activities. This trend is however likely to change in the near future due to Covid-19.
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Impact of Covid-19
Besides, significantly reducing people’s outdoor activities, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the global economy and caused pay cuts and job losses. These factors are likely to affect portable fridge sales in the residential segment. The hospitality sector is speculated to be one of the worst affected sectors from Covid-19 in the coming years, which will pose a further challenge for the market.
However, the portable fridge market stands to gain substantially from the healthcare, biotechnology and biomedical sectors as these sectors are slated to see strong growth in the coming years. This will also significantly impact the region-wise distribution of the market.
In the long run, the pandemic is likely to increase health concerns and promote food preservation and storage technology, which may also have a positive impact on the market.
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The North American segment has led the portable fridge market by a margin due to region’s lifestyle trends, followed by Europe. Oceania has also been a strong segment despite its low population dividend. East Asia has seen the fastest growth in recent years, led mainly by China. South Asia, Latin America and Middle East and Africa are the other key segments.
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