WESTPORT, Conn. — HVACR manufacturers are feeling optimistic about improving economic business prospects, according to a recent ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey sent to more than 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide. According to the survey, 79 percent of respondents said their prospects were either excellent (19 percent) or good (60 percent) for the coming year. The remaining 21 percent suggested their prospects were fair.

The results of the survey reflect a “significant improvement” over last year’s survey, which found 70 percent of participants expected the economy to be better in 2013 than 2012, while 3 percent predicted it would be worse. No one responding to this year’s survey felt economic prospects would worsen in 2014.

The survey also found 90 percent of HVACR manufacturers believe sales will increase. Of those, 32 percent expect sales increases of more than 10 percent, 31 percent forecast sales increases between 5-10 percent, and 27 percent expect increases of less than 5 percent. No one predicted sales will decrease, while 10 percent stated sales will remain the same in 2014.

This year’s survey registered a 4 percent jump over last year, when 86 percent forecasted sales would increase and 3 percent thought sales would decrease in 2013.

Participants noted the hospitals/health care industry was regarded as the most promising segment in 2014, followed by light commercial, heavy commercial, data/telecom centers, and office buildings.

Regarding which industry segment offers the best business prospects, manufacturers failed to identify a clear front runner, as 35 percent selected maintenance/replacement, 33 percent chose new construction, and 32 percent opted for retrofit/renovation.

The manufacturers surveyed felt reliability and first costs were most important to their customers, with energy efficiency and sustainability ranking very close. Those surveyed also noted energy efficiency and sustainability as the most important trend or issue in the industry.

With those two topics being so big for the industry, 66 percent of respondents said they plan to introduce new products at the 2014 AHR Expo, held Jan. 21-23 in New York City. Of those 66 percent introducing new products, 54 percent said they currently have plans to show new products that are designed to improve energy efficiency.

“Reducing energy usage for our customers is one of our most important goals,” said Michael O’Neil, communications coordinator, Armstrong Fluid Technology. “We will be introducing some very innovative energy-saving products and solutions at AHR Expo that are designed to significantly reduce our customers’ carbon footprint.”

The importance of introducing new products at the AHR Expo was reinforced by Jeff Baymor of SenseAir North America.

“SenseAir is launching multiple groundbreaking new products and AHR is the best showcase available for new releases,” Baymor said.

Clay Stevens, president, International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the AHR Expo, said the expo is the best resource available for HVACR professionals seeking solutions. “With nearly 2,000 exhibiting companies from around the world showcasing hundreds of new products, there is no better resource attendees can use to find the solutions they seek,” he said.

The NEWS will have full coverage of the 2014 AHR Expo, starting with an event preview on Jan. 6. A magazine devoted to the event will be published Jan. 20, and a follow-up issue, out Feb. 17, will showcase all the new products introduced.

Publication date: 1/2/2013

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