WESTPORT, Connecticut, United States, 11 December 2019: Members of the HVACR community reported a continued positive business outlook heading into 2020, in the latest AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal Annual Economic Outlook Survey. The survey was distributed to past and prospective attendees, as well as industry manufacturers, to gauge the market leading into the new year, the organisers of AHR Expo said through a Press release. Additionally, for the first time, the 2020 report includes input on trends, issues and opportunities, as outlined by representatives from industry associations regarding their respective areas of expertise, the release said.
The full report can be downloaded on the AHR Expo website.
According to the report, 79% of respondents indicated good or excellent predicted sales prospects as we cross into 2020, the release said. While there continues to be shifts in the market, overall, the industry remains in a positive economic position, the release said. For example, heading in to 2019, the ‘retrofit and renovation’ segment was ranked as having the highest business growth potential, the release quoted the report findings, adding that this year, it fell to second place, falling behind maintenance and replacement job.
“Manufacturers and our attendee shareholders alike are reporting a strong economy,” said Mark Stevens, Manager, AHR Expo. “Our recent report reveals that members of the HVACR community expect the successes of 2019 to hold in the new year. This will be evident on the Show floor, as our exhibitors continue to introduce new and innovative products that meet the rising demand for smarter and more efficient solutions.”
Each year, the AHR Expo kicks off business Q1 with the industry’s first chance to see what’s new in HVACR, the release quoted AHR Expo as saying. Exhibitors use the opportunity to launch products at the Show and discuss new opportunities ahead, the release said. As a precursor to the Show, the survey, conducted at the end of Q4, provides the opportunity to gauge what’s expected in the year ahead, the release added.
“The HVACR industry remains in a season of change, with innovation and advancement happening in all sectors,” Stevens said. “Considerations, such as the global market, changing customer demands and new innovation demands, are shaping product designs and the way we approach the built-environment. Across the board, whether entirely new concepts or improvements upon existing product lines, our exhibitors are thinking smarter and delivering impressive solutions.”
When asked about 2019 sales, 34% of respondents reported an increase of 10% or more, and 70% indicated sales growth of at least 10%, the release said. Additionally, respondents reported expected growth in nearly all areas of the industry, with light-commercial, health and residential markets identified as having the highest potential in 2020 at 72%, 67% and 64%, respectively, the release added.
As in previous years, reliability holds steady as the most important consideration factor for consumers when making purchasing decisions, the release said. Both exhibitors and attendees alike ranked it as the most important, coming in at 81% for exhibitors and slightly more than 98% for attendees, the release said. For the second year in a row, both energy efficiency and indoor air quality secured a top spot in relation to consumer importance among exhibitors, at 67% and 64%, respectively, the release revealed. Attendees, however, placed initial costs second at right under 98%, and comfort considerations third at 96%, the release said.
According to the release, areas of concern include rising tariffs and the need to recruit and retain a strong skilled workforce. Additionally, changing DOE regulations and R-22 refrigerant phase-out remains high on respondent radars, the release said. Areas of opportunity include automation and self-diagnostic controls and continued growth in the IoT/IIoT space, the release said, adding that on the horizon for potential impacts to the industry include the forthcoming 2020 Presidential election, growth of big-box retailers and the viability of new technologies in the market.