WESTPORT, Conn. — According to an ASHRAE and AHR Expo survey sent to more than 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide, there is growing optimism for improving business prospects in 2015. Based on survey results, 87 percent of the respondents said their prospects for business were either “excellent” (26 percent) or “good” (61 percent) for the coming year. Thirteen percent of the respondents felt prospects were “fair.”

These results are an 8 percent jump over last year’s survey that found 79 percent of respondents expected the economy would be better in 2014 than 2013. It also represents a substantial 17 percent increase in optimism over the previous year’s survey when 70 percent of the respondents thought 2013 would be better than 2012.

In keeping with this positive outlook, 96 percent of the HVACR manufacturer respondents believe 2015 sales will continue to increase, with 47 percent expecting sales increases of between 5 percent and 10 percent. Twenty nine percent of respondents forecast sales increases of more than 10 percent, and 20 percent expect increases of less than 5 percent. Only 3 percent expected sales to remain the same. This represents a 6 percent increase over last year’s forecast and a 16 percent jump over the 2013 survey.

When asked which market segments would be the most promising in 2015, Hospitals/Healthcare ranked first in the “excellent” and “good” categories, followed closely by Light Commercial. Heavy Commercial, Data/Telecom Centers, Manufacturing/Industrial, and Office Buildings also ranked highly. Heavy Commercial, Light Commercial, and Data/Telecom showed the biggest increases over last year’s survey with double digit increases.

Regarding the industry categories where HVACR manufacturers see the best prospects for business, New Construction was mentioned by 40 percent of respondents and climbed to number one, gaining 11 percentage points from the 2014 forecast. Maintenance/Replacement was second (32 percent), followed closely by Retrofit/Renovation (28 percent). 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. Energy Efficiency and Maintenance were close behind, and Comfort and Indoor Air Quality made impressive gains over last year’s survey to finish in the top five.

In response to this projected economic growth, 70 percent of respondents said they plan to introduce new products at the 2015 AHR Expo in Chicago, January 26-28. This is up 3 percent from last year.

For more information, visit www.ahrexpo.com.

Publication date: 12/1/2014

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