Just as a series of health household appliances, such as sink dishwasher, disinfection cabinet, microwave oven, fresh air conditioner, sterilization washing machine and clothes dryer, are popular among consumers who pursue a healthy lifestyle due to the impact of this round of epidemic situation, “central air conditioner”, another big guy from the household appliance industry, has once again fallen into a new quagmire of industry development.

Affected by the epidemic, the central air conditioning industry has fallen into a new quagmire

As the return journey after the festival reaches its peak and enterprises resume production and work one after another, the concern that “the use of central air conditioning is easy to cause the spread of the epidemic” in large commercial supermarkets, especially in central office buildings and other offices has become a hot topic. After the past 17 years of SARS, under the new epidemic prevention and control, the most “unpopular” central air conditioning is facing challenges again, and the negative impact on the whole industry may be more serious than SARS. Different from the relatively safe single family household central air conditioning and household air conditioning, whether it is the suggestions put forward by relevant experts such as the National Center for Disease Control and prevention and the National Health Commission, or the emergency prevention and control guidelines of various provinces and cities, there are many explanations about “the use of central air conditioning is not conducive to epidemic prevention and control” in the guidance work of epidemic prevention and control for returning to work after the festival. Undoubtedly, this also pushed the central air-conditioning enterprises to the forefront of public opinion once again.

We should know that under the influence of the national real estate regulation and the transfer of development and growth mode, the central air conditioning market, which focuses on the commercial market, has fallen into a round of development decline. This time, the outbreak of the epidemic has once again aroused the concern of all sectors of the community about the use of central air conditioning, which will undoubtedly accelerate the central air conditioning enterprises, which were already deeply confused in the channel, to struggle again.

Compared to the 2003 SARS outbreak, worried about cross infection of the virus and the spread of “SARS, the central air-conditioning has gone” joke. Under this epidemic situation, it seems that the fate of central air conditioning has improved a lot. Behind it is the systematic upgrading of fresh air volume, health standards and installation design of central air conditioning after SARS. However, these improvements do not mean that the challenges faced by the central air-conditioning industry today are smaller than those faced by SARS. On the contrary, from the perspective of the overall environment, the pressure is greater. Looking back at the huge impact of SARS on China’s air conditioning industry, coupled with the rising prices of raw materials, some data say that the year-on-year sales of central air conditioning is nearly 10% lower than expected. However, as the SARS epidemic passed, the once doubted central air conditioning market did not fluctuate much as a whole: > according to the data of China Refrigeration and air conditioning industry association, the total industrial output value of large and medium-sized refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and supporting equipment reached 39.38 billion yuan in 2003, an increase of nearly 26.4% over 2002; Compared with the previous two years, the year-on-year growth was 39.2% and 18% respectively. Another figure shows that in 2004, the growth rate of central air conditioning industry was as high as 48%. Growth is not accidental. On the one hand, China’s economy in 2003 is in the high growth stage of heavy industry, urbanization and consumption upgrading, which has given birth to the continuous rise of large modern office buildings, hotels, shopping malls and supermarkets, and the demand for central air conditioning market is very strong.

For example, the growth rate of real estate investment in that year was 28%, which was not far behind that in 2004. But at present, even if there is no epidemic, the growth rate of real estate in 2020 will drop significantly, which will lower the overall demand for central air conditioning. If we compare the relationship between the market performance of central air conditioning and GDP growth since 2006, we can find that the trend of the two is close. At present, under the supply side structural reform and economic transformation, China’s GDP growth has slowed down, but it can rise steadily, and its impact on central air conditioning is still controllable. However, the sudden epidemic will certainly slow down the annual GDP growth rate, and the progress and approval of large-scale engineering projects will also slow down, resulting in a sharp increase in the growth pressure of the central air conditioning market. On the other hand, it was the leading enterprises that seized the upgrading tuyere of “health” and “safety” during SARS.

The most representative is that Haier’s central air-conditioning sales increased by 2.6 times in the first ten months of that year with the innovation of anti bacteria system and ozone generation device, which led to a round of industrial reshuffle. This time, Midea, Gree and other local enterprises began to catch up with and surpass foreign brands such as York, Trane, carrier and Maxwell. It can even be said that SARS has become an important node in the development process of central air conditioning. First, the market capacity continues to rise until it breaks through the 100 billion mark in 2018; After that, with the continuous differentiation and fission of brand pattern and enterprise camp, local enterprises began to take the lead.

However, compared with the “health” opportunities found by central air conditioning enterprises during the SARS period, when the current safety and health standards are relatively perfect and the industry is becoming more and more mature, it is difficult to have new outlets for the time being. At the same time, it is difficult for central air conditioning to enjoy the dividend of e-commerce platform because of its “engineering channel” as the main feature and “three parts depend on sales and seven parts depend on installation”. Superimposed on the original real estate regulation, central air conditioning faces unprecedented challenges.

We hope to reevaluate the response of central air conditioning to SARS and bring us some enlightenment, but I’m afraid it’s hard to achieve in reality. Central air conditioning overall project cold, retail cooling, will be the next most intuitive market reaction. For enterprises, in addition to actively seizing the market share of central air conditioning, they should also be prepared to find other growth poles.

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