How home appliances and policy are shaping where we live on 6 continents?

All homes look alike, all homes are different. To see the bigger picture of how political realities impact households’ daily lives and keep track of the development of the home appliance industry, associations representing the sector from all over the globe came together for the 6th time. The International Roundtable of Household Appliance Manufacturing Associations (IRHMA) took place in Seoul, Korea on September, 5th and the forum opened the doors to a new member from a new continent. The South African Domestic Appliance Association (SADA) became officially a member, just less than a year since its Russian fellow, AEB joined the discussion. Spread now on six continents, experts have pictured achievements and challenges, indicating as well how would they like to see consumers to enjoy a better lifestyle in the near future. 

|“The South African Domestic Appliance Association (SADA) became officially a member, just less than a year since its Russian fellow, AEB joined the discussion.”

The host, KEA is turning 60 this year and the home appliance industry is already strategically planning how to help in the making of Korea 4.0 - focusing on intelligence, innovation, inclusiveness and interaction. To enable the four I’s, a solid cyber security infrastructure must be built. Within these lines, IRHMA has jointly expressed its readiness to help local governments to minimise risks of the breach of data privacy and cyber attacks, and signed a joint statement on the topic.

| “IRHMA has jointly expressed its readiness to help local governments to minimise risks of the breach of data privacy and cyber attacks, and signed a joint statement on the topic.”

In Europe, the measurement of how energy efficient appliances are has been shaken up by a major revision of the European Union energy label, removing the pluses of the top classes and bringing back the scale from A to G. This move, aiming at further steering innovation, will test the communication skills of the institutions, all EU countries and the industry in their efforts to help consumers make a rational choice. The Director General of APPLiA, Home Appliance Europe, also highlighted that new ecodesign rules will make repair safer, authorising only professional repairmen to take care of products, as well us ensuring that all producers keep key spare parts available to Europeans for a minimum of 7 years. While the discussion on electronic waste on the old continent has been heating up, producers in Europe still struggle with two-thirds of WEEE disappearing and not coming back to circular loops.

| “In Europe, the measurement of how energy efficient appliances are has been shaken up by a major revision of the European Union energy label, going back from A to G.”

Frank Schauff, the CEO of the Association of European Businesses (AEB), recognised a similar pattern in the Russian Federation where mandatory labelling for the traceability of some goods  has started since January 2019. A strict set of regulations, however, made it a challenge obtaining of licences to treat WEEE. The idea of circular economy is dawning, setting for the first time a 10% target on the recycling of appliances  after their end of life. Economically speaking, however, given a decreased disposable purchasing power, citizens have been less able to bring home new, more efficient products available on shop floors.

| “Mandatory labelling for the traceability of some goods  has started since January 2019 in Russia.”

Оn the other hand, Chinese consumers have been taking up more and more smart products. The greatest rise has been noticed in the sales of smart air conditioners, where 45% more smart air conditioners have been installed to heat and cool people’s homes delivering extra features thanks to connectivity. Innovation has not stopped with making people’s lives more comfortable, but the Industry  has also proposed ambitious goals to increase the average energy efficiency of refrigerators by 2025 and even more ambitious for 2030. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, CHEAA has rebranded and modernised its corporate logo.

| “Chinese consumers have been taking up more and more smart products.”

In Japan, policy makers and JEMA have made strides in clarifying the types of safe materials producers can use when it comes to products that are in contact with food or liquids. Manufacturers will receive clear guidance and a positive list is expected to be published this December. To allow the industry to adapt, producers in Japan are highlighting the need to secure more time for this transition period than the prescribed entry into force in mid-2020. 

| “ The Japanese government and JEMA have made strides in clarifying the types of safe materials producers can use.”

North America’s AHAM has set up its key goals - live enhancing, building trust in homes, making them more sustainable, efficient and innovative. Cyber security is high on the US’ agenda, and AHAM is at the forefront of delivering ever more trust in using connected devices.

| “Cyber security is high on the US’ agenda.”

Last but not least, the newest IRHMA member, SADA has become the voice of the industry in South Africa very quickly since its foundation back in 2016. The association is keeping an eye on the development of the market and has flagged up the plan of policy makers to work on water efficiency labelling scheme, focusing on one of the most scarce resources on the continent - water. 

| Policy makers in South Africa are working on water efficiency labelling scheme, focusing on one of the most scarce resources on the continent - water. 

This is a glimpse of how homes are developing today. 

For more IRHMA updates, follow #IRHMA2019 and www.irhma.org 


Diana Yordanova