CLEVELAND — Global demand for commercial refrigeration equipment is forecast to rise 4.6 percent per year through 2016 to $32.5 billion, an acceleration from the 2006-2011 pace, according to World Commercial Refrigeration Equipment, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc. Demand will benefit from strong growth in a number of the world’s larger developing nations, particularly in Asia, as China and India will continue to be the fastest growing national markets for commercial refrigeration equipment. The United States market, which suffered during the 2007-2009 recession, will recover and post substantially stronger growth in demand, although gains will slightly trail the world average.

China was by far the fastest growing world market for commercial refrigeration products between 2001 and 2011, posting double-digit annual growth rates and quadrupling in size over those 10 years, noted the study. As economic growth in the country slows, demand growth for commercial refrigeration products will decelerate, but will remain the fastest in the world. India, despite its size, remains a relatively small market for commercial refrigeration equipment, with per capita demand ranking among the smallest in the world. However, heavy investment in electrical infrastructure and rising incomes will create strong potential for growth, and demand gains for these products in India will be the second fastest in the world.

The U.S. is the world’s largest market for commercial refrigeration products, and will account for nearly a quarter of global sales growth through 2016, according to The Freedonia Group. Gains will result from an improved macroeconomic outlook, as rising consumer spending encourages food industry participants to expand the number of retail outlets and restaurants. In addition, food industry participants will be more willing to make equipment upgrades that had been deferred due to a weak economy.

Japan was the third largest market for commercial refrigeration equipment in 2011, but has declined in size since 2006, reflecting both poor economic conditions and the maturity of the market. Demand for commercial refrigeration products in Japan is forecast to return to positive growth through 2016, but gains will be significantly slower than the world average.

Publication date: 1/14/2013