Despite widespread concern about the global economy, manufacturers appear optimistic about the economic outlook for the HVACR industry. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 AHR Expo exhibitors worldwide, 72 percent of the total respondents expect a "better year" or a "much better year" in 2012 compared to 2011. Twenty four percent replied that sales would be the "same," while only four percent are expecting a "worse year."

The results in 2012 reflect greater optimism than last year, when 66 percent of respondents were expecting 2011 to be better than 2010. In fact, according to show organizers, all categories of predictions for 2012 were up from 2011 forecasts, including those for a "much better year" (13 percent vs. 9 percent) and "better year" (59 percent vs. 57 percent). Likewise, only four percent predicted a "worse year" in 2012 compared to seven percent in 2011.

Another positive survey finding is that 82 percent of respondents expect sales to increase in 2012, with 29 percent anticipating increases of more than 10 percent. An additional 36 percent said sales would increase between five and 10 percent, while 17 percent expect sales to increase less than five percent. Eighteen percent expect sales to stay the same.

The overall optimistic 2012 outlook may be due in part to the fact that 76 percent of the respondents believe there is "pent-up industry demand" for new products. This compares to the 61 percent that felt there was pent-up demand in 2011, which is an indication that their customers are getting ready to buy more new equipment.

AHR Expo, which is planned for January 23-25, 2012, in Chicago, will host more than 1,900 exhibitors and anticipates more than 50,000 attendees and exhibitor personnel. For more information on the show, visit