By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter
I attended the 66th International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition in New York City (January 21-23, 2014). For those not familiar with this trade show, it is the largest HVACR show in the United States, endorsed by 33 leading HVACR industry associations and co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI. This year’s attendance was once again very strong, with more than 61,000 people attending and more than 1,800 exhibitor booths.
Here are five of my observations from the show:
Strong 2014 Outlook – in addition to the positive sentiment of almost everyone I spoke with at the show, the recent ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey forecasts a pretty good year for the HVACR business. Of the 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide surveyed, 79% of the respondents said their prospects for business were either “excellent” (19%) or “good” (60%) for the coming year, 90% of the HVACR manufacturers believe sales will increase and hospitals/healthcare, light commercial and data/telecom centers were the top three market segments identified to be the most promising for 2014.
Trade Publications Are Not Dead – 35+ publications had a presence at this year’s show, each with their army of sales people combing the aisles for new and potential advertisers.
Technology Continues To Play Strong Role – it seems every year at this show more and more technology is introduced to the products and services showcased, whether it is the software driving these products or the tablets used to control and monitor them. Again this year, there was a dedicated AHR Expo app for the show which not only helped you find your favorite booth, but also had valuable information about the speakers, educational sessions, transportation and local NYC attractions.
Growing International Attendance – exhibitors from more than 30 countries attended the show. Asian manufacturers have been coming to this show for a number of years and 2014 was no different; however I did notice an uptick of Latin/South American as well as European exhibitors and attendees this year.
“Efficiency” Is Still The Buzzword – with the way the economy has been over the last few years I think we have all gotten used to “doing more with less.” In the HVAC market that is nothing new, no matter which aisle you walked down during the show “efficiency” rang out in booth messaging, product benefits and sales pitches.