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AHR survey reports strong economy for HVAC businesses heading into 2020

The annual survey shows many HVAC professionals are feeling optimistic about the business going into 2020.


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November 27, 2019

HVAC/R 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 2020 report includes input on trends, issues and opportunities as outlined by representatives from industry associations regarding their respective areas of expertise. The survey acts as a precursor to the AHR Expo, happening in February 2020.

The full report can be downloaded on the AHR Expo website.

According to the report, 79 per cent of respondents predicted good or excellent sales prospects in 2020. While there continues to be shifts in the market, overall, the industry remains in a positive economic position. For example, heading in to 2019 the ‘retrofit and renovation’ segment was ranked as having the highest business growth potential. This year, it fell to second place, falling behind maintenance and replacement jobs.

Over three quarters of respondents predict business prospects for 2020 to be good or excellent.

When asked about 2019 sales, 34 per cent of respondents reported an increase of 10 per cent or more, while 70 per cent indicated sales growth of at least 10 per cent. Respondents also reported expected growth in nearly all areas of the industry, the highest potential being within light commercial (72 per cent), health (67 per cent) and residential markets (64 per cent).

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 per cent and 64 per cent respectively. Attendees, however, placed initial costs second at right under 98 per cent, and comfort considerations third at 96 per cent.

Light commercial, hospital and health and residential were voted the top three business prospects for 2020

Areas of concern include rising tariffs and the need to recruit and retain a strong skilled workforce. Additionally, changing DOE regulations and R22 refrigerant phase-out remains high on respondent radars. Areas of opportunity include automation and self-diagnostic controls and continued growth in the IoT/IIoT space. 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.

The Annual Economic Outlook Survey of HVACR manufacturers and attendees is compiled by AHR Expo and the ASHRAE Journal.




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