The Domestic Appliances division achieved sales of €930 million in 2017. This represents an increase of €32 million, or 3.6 %, compared with the previous year.
The global market saw moderate growth, both in large electrical appliances as well as the consumer appliances range of refrigeration and freezing. This can be attributed to the generally positive development of the global economy. The market for refrigerators and freezers continues to move in a heavily competitive environment.
The division was able to maintain sales in Western Europe in 2017. Growth was seen in the key market of Germany. By contrast, growth took a downturn in the Italian, Swiss, Denmark and French markets.
Sales in Eastern Europe still climbing
Business showed positive development once again in Eastern Europe. In particular, Russia and Bulgaria contributed to the growth in this region. In the Americas, the Middle East as well as the Far East / Australia, the division also succeeded in increasing sales.
Demand for household refrigerators and freezers was stagnant overall. Turnover decreased most notably for freezers. In contrast, sales of built-in appliances rose. In the commercial range, demand rose for refrigerators, particularly for use in laboratories.
Focus on digitalisation at IFA 2017
Increasing digitalisation in all areas of life poses new challenges for refrigerator and freezer manufacturers. According to the motto “Making your life smarter”, Liebherr presented technologies at last year’s IFA in Berlin (Germany) that give a preview of the digital future of household appliances. Liebherr already offers over 120 network-connecting appliances, spanning all price classes. SmartDevice technology opens up a new dimension in food storage. A camera can in the future detect what is inside the refrigerator, prepare stock lists and help write shopping lists. The refrigerator can also suggest recipes that are perfectly catered to match the ingredients found in the refrigerator. Plus, it can provide extensive information about the various food items. Through its presentation at the 2017 IFA, the division brought attention to its pioneering role in the field of digital business models.
The past financial year was marked by many ongoing development projects: in total, the division gave a facelift to 102 built-in appliances. In addition, it introduced a complete BioFresh built-in appliance which combines a wine cabinet and refrigerator to create an innovative home dining centre. The BluPerformance-series was expanded to include two new side-by-side models, among others. Furthermore, series production kicked off for the ValueLine family, which consists of five new combination refrigerator/freezers in two colours, with NoFrost technology. Another highlight for the division is the new Monolith-series which will first be launched in the North American market in 2018. With this series of appliances, Liebherr presents an entirely new dimension in food storage, featuring not only impressive, unique design, but also unprecedented technologies in the field of refrigeration.
In the commercial range, series production of the new DisplayCooler generation started. These high-efficiency appliances will feature a new design, tailored to the latest requirements of the beverages industry. Models have also been reworked in the laboratory and medical appliances range, which also introduced a total of four new, explosion-proof appliances.
To develop a suitable measurement methodology for improving the quality of food storage, the division is collaborating with various research institutions. Current research projects concentrate on noise reduction in refrigerators and freezers.
Through its presentation at the 2017 IFA, the division brought attention to its pioneering role in the field of digital business models.
Award for innovation management
In addition to expanding its collaborations with universities and other research institutes, the division is also stimulating innovative ideas internally. For its efforts in this area, Liebherr-Hausgeräte GmbH received the European Innovation Impact Award last year.
The division‘s most important investment was the construction of a new production facility in Aurangabad (India), which was completed in 2017. The refrigerators that will be produced there starting in 2018 are being specially designed for the requirements of the Indian market. Additionally, Liebherr-Hausgeräte GmbH invested in a new training and exhibition hall at the site in Ochsenhausen (Germany).
For 2018, Liebherr expects a slight increase in refrigerator and freezer sales. Particularly the debut of the Monolith series in the North American market promises further growth. Meanwhile, sinking market price levels and the intensification of competition pose risks.