AHR attendees project strong growth in 2017

Survey portends “a stellar year” for HVACR market ahead of January 30 expo.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media January 3, 2017

With almost all attendees predicting growth in the coming year, promoters of the 2017 AHR Expo in Las Vegas said their industry is poised for a hot start in the new year.

In noting that 98% of respondents to a survey distributed by the AHR Expo and the ASHRAE Journal said they had a positive business outlook in advance of the January 30 – February 1 expo, International Exposition Company president Clay Stevens said, "We are anticipating a stellar year for business activity among exhibitors and attendees." Another 86% of the 1,400 people surveyed said they expected their sales to grow in the coming year, and 27% of all respondents said that growth would top 10%.

"It is always interesting to see how trends across the exhibitor landscape continue to shift," said Stevens. "We’re pleased to note the increase in responses around anticipated business growth, as well as an increase in good and excellent outlook responses regarding a majority of the HVACR industry’s various market segments." Stevens said the 2017 event at the Las Vegas Convention Center would be the largest AHR Expo in the show’s 88-year history.

The positive outlook actually is a continuation of strong results from 2016. Nearly one-quarter of respondents saw sales growth of more than 10% from 2015 to 2016, and another 29% saw comparable sales between the two years. Maintenance and replacement business was expected to account for 38% of business growth in 2017, compared with 32% for retrofit and renovation applications and new construction at 30%.

The hospital and healthcare market was among the top industry growth segments heading into 2017, with 71% of respondents predicting growth. That was just behind the 74% growth rate for the light commercial market and just ahead of the 70% rate for the heavy commercial market.

To respond to this growth market, 61% of exhibitors at the AHR Expo expect to introduce new products or product lines, with 43% of attendees saying the new products would focus on energy efficiency. That is in line with the belief of respondents that energy efficiency would be the most important issue in the HVACR market. It was mentioned by 36% of respondents and marks a continuing trend among industry leaders, accord to an AHR Expo press release. The respondents talked about the need to connect smart buildings and controls in some of their open-ended remarks in the survey, and the Internet of Things (IoT) was mentioned specifically by 15% of all respondents.

The changing U.S. political landscape also was a topic of discussion, as 13% of respondents expect an impact on government regulations and a stronger economy as a by-product of the election results.

For more information on the 2017 AHR Expo, visit www.ahrexpo.com.

-Bob Vavra, content manager, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.