The latest 13 SEER-related survey by Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, found that a considerable number of HVAC contractors (41 percent) and wholesalers (52 percent) increased inventory significantly on 10 SEER outdoor units, in anticipation of the 13 SEER transition
The new survey asked HVAC contractors and distributors across the industry specific questions regarding inventory leading up to the transition. The questions were designed to provide insight into the factors that drove the phenomenal growth in production and sales of air conditioning systems last fall; and system inventory position and location in the channel, as well as helping to better determine a reasonable forecast for the rest of the year.
The survey showed that along with building increased inventory, many contractors (42 percent) and wholesalers (54 percent) also pulled forward system sales into the fall of 2005 by offering homeowners and builders 10 and 12 SEER to avoid higher 13 SEER prices in 2006. Surprisingly, 80 percent of the contractors and wholesalers surveyed did not expect to lose sales in 2006 as a result of the pull-forward in 2005. In fact, while more than 80 percent of wholesalers and 54 percent of contractors report that they are carrying more inventory than at this time last year, most contractors (55 percent) and wholesalers (67 percent) only expect their inventory of 10 SEER to last through the end of March 2006.
“As strong as the fall 2005 and early January 2006 demand was (double the prior year), we were quite surprised that contractors and wholesalers felt the excess 10 SEER system stock would only last through the end of March,” says Karl Zellmer, vice president of sales for Copeland Air Conditioning. “Overall, the primary results of the survey reinforce an optimistic outlook for the season.”
The survey also asked respondents to cite their top concerns, now that the 13 SEER regulation has gone into effect. Of the respondents to this question, the majority of contractors and wholesalers cited the availability of 13 SEER as their primary concern. Their second concern was the cost of the equipment to customers; followed by pricing, mismatched units and training.
“Most contractors and wholesalers seemed pretty bullish on 2006 sales prospects, despite pulling sales ahead into 2005, and higher 13 SEER unit costs. This is reflective of expectations of a good economy in 2006, and the perspective that air conditioning is no longer considered a luxury, but is now a necessity,” says Zellmer.
Emerson Climate Technologies has been encouraging contractors to understand the issues and opportunities presented by the new 13 SEER standard, so they can offer additional value with new products and continue to grow their business.
To help contractors gain a better understanding, Emerson has introduced the “Get SEERious®” educational booklet, which provides information that helps contractors take advantage of upselling opportunities. Emerson’s UltraTech® Home Series line features products like the Comfort Alert Diagnostics, Copeland Scroll UltraTech two-stage compressor and White-Rodgers® Blue™ thermostat, which also gives contractors many ways to offer more benefits to homeowners.
The 13 SEER survey, along with the Get SEERious educational booklet, is part of Emersons ongoing Get SEERious campaign, designed to help lead the HVAC industry through a smooth transition and educate contractors and distributors on the issues and opportunities presented by the transition. To view the complete survey results or request a copy of the Get SEERious educational booklet, visit EmersonClimateContractor.com.