Despite wide-spread concern about the global economy, manufacturers appear to be very optimistic about the economic outlook for the HVACR industry. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 AHR Expo exhibitors worldwide, nearly three fourths (72%) of the total respondents expect a ‘better year’ (59%) or a ‘much better year’ (13%) in 2012 compared to 2011. Twenty four percent replied that sales would be the ‘same’, while only four percent are expecting a ‘worse year’.
The fact that 72 percent of respondents expect a better year in 2012 is up six percent from last year’s survey that found 66 percent of respondents were expecting 2011 to be better than 2010. Actually, all categories of predictions for 2012 were up from 2011 forecasts, including those for a ‘much better year’ (13% vs. 9%) and ‘better year’ (59% vs. 57%). Likewise, only four percent predicted a ‘worse year’ in 2012 compared to seven percent in 2011.
Another very positive survey finding is that an impressive 82 percent of respondents expect sales to increase in 2012, with 29 percent anticipating increases of more than 10 percent. An additional 36 percent said sales would increase between five and 10 percent, while 17 percent expect sales to increase less than five percent. Eighteen percent expect sales to ‘stay the same’.
This overall optimistic 2012 outlook may be due in part to the fact that 76 percent of the respondents believe there is ‘pent-up industry demand’ for new products. This compares to the 61 percent that felt there was pent-up demand in 2011, which is an indication that their customers are getting ready to buy more new equipment.
Another encouraging survey finding is that 72 percent of the exhibitors plan on introducing new products at the 2012 AHR Expo in Chicago, January 23 – 25. This is up sharply from the 62 percent of companies that said they were introducing new products at the 2011 event. This also indicates that many exhibitors expect their customers to come ready to buy.
Other major findings of the survey were:
- The industry segments where they expect the strongest demand for their products in 2012 are Light Commercial (24%), Heavy Commercial (13%), Industrial (26%), Residential (26%) and Institutional (11%)
- The industry categories where they expect the strongest demand for products are New Construction (37%), Replacement (36%) and Renovation/Upgrade (26%).
- The geographical marketplaces where they expect the greatest demand are domestic (71%) and international (29%).