Westport, Conn. — Optimism for improving economic business prospects in the HVACR industry continue to grow, according to a recent ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey sent to more than 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide. According to survey results, 79% of the respondents said their prospects for business were either “excellent” (19%) or “good” (60%) for the coming year. The remaining 21% of the respondents felt prospects were “fair.”
These results reflect a significant improvement over last year’s survey that found 70% of respondents expected the economy to be better in 2013 than 2012, while 3% predicted it would be worse. No one responding to this year’s survey felt economic prospects would worsen in 2014.
In keeping with this positive outlook for next year, 90% of the HVACR manufacturers believe sales will increase, with 32% expecting sales increases of more than 10%. Thirty-one percent forecast sales increases between 5% and 10%, and 27% expect increases of less than 5%. Ten percent believe sales will remain the same, while no one predicts sales will decrease. This year’s survey registered a 4% jump over last year when 86% of the respondents forecasted sales would increase and 3% expected sales to decrease.
When asked which market segments would be the most promising in the new year, “Hospitals/Health Care” ranked first, followed by “Light Commercial.” “Heavy Commercial,” “Data/Telecom Centers” and “Office Buildings” were also ranked highly.
Regarding the industry categories where HVACR manufacturers see the best prospects for business, it was fairly evenly divided between “Maintenance/Replacement” (35%), “New Construction” (33%), and “Retrofit/Renovation” (32%).
In response to the question “How important to your customers are the following”, “Reliability” and “First Costs” ranked the highest. However, reflecting the growing demand for “green” products and technologies, “Energy Efficiency” ranked third as “Very Important” and “Sustainability” was fifth in overall importance. “Energy efficiency” and “Sustainability” topics were also the most frequent responses to the question “What do you see as the most important trend or issue in the HVACR industry.”
In order to meet this need for economic growth and more energy-efficient solutions, two-thirds of the respondents (66%) said they plan to introduce new products at the 2014 AHR Expo in New York this January. Of these respondents, 54% plan to introduce products that improve energy efficiency.