Survey reveals that manufacturers are cautiously optimistic about the 2011 economic outlook


Oct 15, 2010

According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 AHR Expo exhibitors worldwide, two thirds (66%) of the total respondents expect a ‘better year’ (57%) or ‘much better year’ (9%) in 2011. Twenty seven percent thought 2011 would be the ‘same as last year’, while only 7% predicted a ‘worse year’. The 66% positive response is down slightly from last year’s survey that found 70% expected a stronger 2010.

However, 83% of this year’s respondents said their business so far in 2010 has been ‘much better’ (9.2%), ‘better’ (57.2%) or the ‘same as last year’ (26.3%). This could indicate that while 2010 was a better year than 2009 for many manufacturers, they are waiting to see how the current economy progresses before being too optimistic about 2011.

Perhaps one sign of an improving economy is that 61% of the respondents to the recent survey believe there is ‘pent-up industry demand’ for new products.  This compares to the 2010 survey where 69% felt there was pent-up demand, which indicates customers are already starting to buy new products this year.

Another encouraging economic trend is that 62% of the exhibitors plan on introducing new products at the 2011 AHR Expo in Las Vegas, January 31– February 2.  Nearly 70% of those products are considered ‘high performance/sustainable” products.

Although many companies are expecting sales increases in 2011 under 6%, several expected sales increases of up to 20%. One company predicted sales increases of over 20% and forecasts that more than 30% of their sales for the year would come from sales leads gained at the 2011 AHR Expo.

“We are introducing a unique new energy-saving product from Germany to the U.S. market at AHR Expo in January and we believe it will significantly drive sales in 2011,” said Kamran Golriz, CEO of Merus Tech LLC. Several companies generate significant new business from their participation in AHR Expo with some exhibitors responding that 20% of their annual sales come from leads gained at the Show.

“AHR Expo comes at a perfect time in the buying cycle,” said Clay Stevens, President of International Exposition Company, which produces and manages the AHR Expo.  “Manufacturers are introducing their new products for 2011 and many HVACR attendees are finalizing their buying plans for the next several months. Many exhibitors have told us that the Show provides a significant sales boost to start their new year.”

Other major findings of the survey were:

  • The industry segments where they expect the strongest demand for their products in 2011 are Commercial (66.4%), Industrial (47.4%), Institutional (31.6%) and Residential (26.3%)
  • The industry categories where they expect the strongest demand for products are Rennovation/Upgrade (39.3%), Replacement (30.7%) and New Construction (30%)
  • The geographical marketplaces where they expect the greatest demand are domestic (77%) and international (23%)

The 2011 AHR Expo will feature more than 1,800 exhibitors from around the world showcasing hundreds and hundreds of innovative new products to over 45,000 attendees and exhibitor personnel. The 2011 AHR Expo is endorsed by 31 leading HVAC/R industry associations and is co-sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). The Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is an honorary sponsor. ASHRAE's winter meeting is held concurrently with the AHR Expo each year.