Drives and Controls Magazine

Pricing drives the $160m HVAC market

01 November, 2002

Pricing is the Achilles heel for many AC drives manufacturers targeting the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) market, according to a new study. In a survey* of HVAC purchasers, plant managers, engineers and managers in Europe, Frost & Sullivan found that pricing was the key issue when choosing a drive for more than 40% of respondents.

F&S research manager Mik Sabiers says that the HVAC sector has seen sharper falls in prices than the rest of the drives market in recent years, due to the lower average price level. "The continuation of this trend could impact competitor profitability," he warns, "and limit the scope for stronger revenue growth in future years".

The HVAC sector is the biggest single user of drives, accounting for 14.3% of all European shipments. Frost & Sullivan predicts that sales to the sector will grow from $159.3m last year to $210.9m by 2008.

HVAC buyers tend to buy smaller drives than other sectors of industry - but they buy more of them. Some 37.5% of orders are for 2-5 drives, and nearly a third are for 6-25 drives. Most purchases are for drives rated from 2.2-7.5kW, and two-thirds of HVAC customers buy drives at least once a month. Of those surveyed, 31% say they spend $50,000-250,000 on drives each year.

Although 91.2% of HVAC buyers say they are happy with their supplier - higher than any other user sector - almost 60% say that they would consider buying from other suppliers in future.

One of the survey`s findings was that purchasing departments are the key decision-makers when deciding which HVAC drives to buy.

* End-user survey of the HVAC sector in the electric drives industry (Report 6637). Price €4,000. Details on 44 (0) 20 7730 3438.