Last year ended on a disappointing note for many, including distributors. The Heating, Airconditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced that average sales for North American HVACR distributors were down 12.2 percent in December, compared to the previous year. On the bright side, distributors in all U.S. regions ended 2011 in positive territory and also reported higher inventory levels than the same time in 2010.
One clear cause of the poor year-over-year comparison is the $1,500 energy efficiency tax credit that expired at the end of December 2010, causing a boost in sales as people rushed to buy units and claim the credit, noted HARDI economist Andrew Duguay. In addition, December 2011 weather was seasonably mild throughout the majority of the United States, which may have caused a minor, short-term shifting of consumer habits in heating equipment purchases.