ASHRAE and AHR Expo survey: HVACR manufacturers’ optimism continues to grow for 2015

According to a recent survey sent to more than 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide, there is growing optimism for improving economic prospects in 2015.

By AHR Expo January 28, 2015

There is growing optimism for improving economic prospects in 2015. Based on a recent ASHRAE and AHR Expo survey sent to more than 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide, 87% of the respondents said their prospects for business were either "excellent" (26%) or "good" (61%) for the coming year. Thirteen percent of the respondents felt prospects were "fair."

These results reflect a significant 8% jump over last year’s survey, which found 79% of respondents expected the economy would be better in 2014 than 2013. It also represents a sizable 17% increase in optimism over the previous year’s survey when 70% of the respondents thought 2013 would be better than 2012.

In keeping with this positive outlook for next year, 96% of the HVACR manufacturers believe 2015 sales will continue to increase, with 47% expecting sales increases of between 5% and 10%. Twenty nine percent of respondents forecast sales increases of more than 10%, and 20% expect increases of less than 5%. Only 3% expect sales to remain the same.

This represents a 6% jump over last year’s forecast and an impressive 16% increase over the 2013 survey.

When asked which market segments would be the most promising in the new year, hospitals/health care ranked first in the "excellent" and "good" categories, followed closely by light commercial, heavy commercial, data/telecom centers, manufacturing/industrial, and office buildings.

The heavy commercial, light commercial, and data/telecom categories showed the biggest increases over last year’s survey, with double-digit jumps.

Regarding the industry categories where HVACR manufacturers see the best prospects for business, new construction was mentioned by 40% of respondents and climbed to number one, gaining 11 percentage points from the 2014 forecast. Maintenance/replacement was second (32%), followed closely by retrofit/renovation (28%). Last year, all three were rated fairly equally with only a couple of percentage points separating them.

"What is especially interesting about this year’s survey is that manufacturers are seeing bigger increases in new construction, light commercial, heavy commercial, and data centers," said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the AHR Expo. "In the previous two years’ surveys, they were expecting more growth from retrofit/renovation and maintenance/replacement areas."

In response to the question, "How important to your customers are the following?" Reliability and first costs ranked the highest again this year in the "very important" and "important" categories. The energy efficiency and maintenance categories were close behind, and the comfort and indoor air quality categories made impressive gains over last year’s survey to finish in the top five.

In response to this projected economic growth and the need for more energy-efficient solutions, 70% of respondents said they plan to introduce new products at the 2015 AHR Expo in Chicago. Of these respondents, 53% plan to introduce products that improve energy efficiency.

– Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media,