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This is a part of the 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue. The annual feature was researched and written by MDM editors based on interviews with dozens of distributors, as well as industry experts and manufacturers. MDM also conducted a survey of its readers to uncover the trends outlined in this issue.
2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue
The landscape is generally improving for HVAC and plumbing distributors with a consistent 6-7 percent average annual revenue growth, says Brian Loftus, Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst for Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International. The positive climate for HVAC distributors is bolstered by job growth, which has led to improving consumer confidence, and increased housing values, which have led to more investment in home systems.
Pent-up demand for replacing equipment could be coming. A spike inhome heating, cooling, plumbing and refrigeration systems tends to happen 10 to 12 years after a home-buying boom, which means it's almost time for that cycle to recur for HVAC and plumbing distributors following 2005's hot housing market, Loftus says.
Regulatory concerns are a perennial hot topic for the HVAC and plumbing sectors. A key issue this year is the extra insulation required for water heaters under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act. "If you are replacing a water heater and you had a 60-gallon water heater and it was in a relatively confined space, you are not going to be able to put in another 60-gallon water heater without some sort of changes," says Maury Williams, corporate communications manager, WinWholesale, Dayton, OH. "More and more customers, they are telling me, are going with tankless water heaters."