The 2015 Korean air conditioner market scope was estimated at 1.4 million units.
The air conditioner penetration rate stood at 70% in the country, lower than that of televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines.
Electricity rates are high in the country, so energy-saving air conditioners are popular. Inverter air conditioners, both RACs and PACs, showed sales growth. For RACs, the inverter penetration rate was about 35%. There has been a rapid shift to inverters in the mid-and-large-capacity segments of PACs, and inverter use among all PACs stood at 95%.
The proportion of heat pumps was small, accounting for about 7% of both RACs and PACs. This is attributed to the Korean-style hot water floor heating system called ondol, which is very common in residential housing. Another reason is that heat pumps have been considered unsuitable for the very cold South Korean winter. Due to recent advances in capacity and performance heat pumps are now beginning to be used in light commercial applications such as restaurants and office buildings. In addition to these applications, heat pumps for ondol heating have been gradually recognized since the energy-savings and ondol heating costs of a heat pump are superior to an oil boiler.