US demand to rise 4.6% annually through 2016
Demand for commercial refrigeration equipment in the US is forecast to increase 4.6 percent per year to $9.4 billion in 2016. Growth will result from improvements in capital investment and nonresidential construction expenditures. In addition, a positive outlook for the broader US economy will encourage end users such as fleet operators and retailers to both expand existing operations and replace aging equipment. Food industry efforts to reduce operating costs, a byproduct of narrow profit margins, will create opportunities for suppliers of energy efficient equipment.
Transportation refrigeration to remain largest segment
Transportation refrigeration equipment will remain the largest commercial refrigeration equipment type, benefiting from the positive outlook for capital investment. In addition, product innovations such as hybrid electric systems and products that utilize natural refrigerants like carbon dioxide will stimulate sales. Ice machines will also record above average growth due to increased construction of hotels and motels, which are major end users of this equipment. Additionally, ice machines will benefit from the rising number of foodservice establishments and from technical innovations like remote monitoring.
New equipment sales to outpace aftermarket
Gains in all markets will benefit from users’ desire to increase efficiency due to the narrow profit margins throughout the food industry. Aftermarket sales of commercial refrigeration equipment — repairs and replacements — accounted for 73 percent of demand in 2011 and will continue to comprise the majority of demand. Gains, however, will lag those of new equipment due to expansion efforts by food industry participants.
Food, beverage distribution to be fastest growing market
Food and beverage distribution in the US is expected to post the most rapid growth of any commercial refrigeration equipment market through 2016, increasing at a yearly rate of 5.9 percent. Gains in the distribution market will result from increased spending on equipment by fleet operators. Foodservice will remain the largest market for commercial refrigeration equipment as US consumers continue to spend around one-half of their food budgets outside the home. Food production will continue to benefit from increased trade in food and beverages, as well as from expansions and renovations of food production facilities. Advances in the retail market will come from a rising number of food stores. In addition, the average amount of floor space at food retail establishments will increase, creating new sales opportunities for commercial refrigeration equipment.
US shipments to grow 4% annually through 2016
Shipments of commercial refrigeration equipment from US facilities are projected to grow 4.0 percent per annum through 2016 to $8.6 billion. Competition from imports will cause growth in shipments to lag demand gains. The US has become a net importer of commercial refrigeration equipment, as many of the leading manufacturers have moved production facilities overseas to reduce labor costs, reflecting a trend in the broader heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry.