Mitsubishi Electric has used its annual sales conference to congratulate its major business partners for outperforming the market during the current recession but also highlighted the need to cross traditional boundaries and enter new markets using the energy saving potential of heat pumps.
Commercial director Donald Daw, told delegates to the BSP (Business Solution Provider) Annual Conference in Daventry, that whilst the air conditioning market had dropped 12% over the previous year, Mitsubishi Electric and its major customers had increased market share.
“This has happened during the toughest economic times we’ve ever seen and our success is due to a combination of the quality of your installations, the developments in energy efficiency of our products and the strength of the relationship we have,” he told the audience of over 150 attendees.
The construction industry has been hit especially hard by the recession but the reasons behind the drop in sales of air conditioning is not entirely linked to the current economic turmoil Daw explained: “Our research shows that market growth in single and small splits systems is very dependant on weather patterns – for the past 2 years we have experienced cool summers in the UK and small businesses have no memory of substantial discomfort caused by warm weather – a normal summer in 2009 should see a return to growth in the small spits market ”
In the larger system and VRF markets, Daw warned that the dramatic impact of the recession on the construction industry will have much longer term implications: “As an industry we have seen double-digit growth in the VRF market for many years and we had started to see this as the norm,” he explained.
“We shouldn’t be surprised that in these tougher economic times businesses are cutting back on capital intensive building refurbishments,” he commented. “The market will bounce back strongly as soon as the investment cycle begins again – the suitability of VRF products for heating and cooling modern buildings has not changed.”
Daw warned that the tougher trading conditions will mean changes in the supply chain and weaker companies leaving the market. He also highlighted how the traditional boundaries between ‘heating,’ ‘ventilation’ and ‘air conditioning’ were now overlapping, with manufacturers from other sectors looking to enter the air conditioning market. He saw this as both a challenge and an opportunity.
“As an industry, we must look to expand our reach and highlight how beneficial heat pump technology can be in addressing the need for lower energy bills and carbon emission reduction,” he explained. “We can do this by moving into the mainstream heating industry and away from being classed as a cooling-only industry. There is already a general blurring of the boundaries and we all need to be ready to step over those boundaries.”
Daw also explained that as a company, Mitsubishi Electric is developing the technology to put heat pumps into as many heating applications as possible, as heat pumps will be one of the key technologies in helping the country achieve the CO2 emission reduction targets that are required, while still allowing users the convenience and comfort they demand. The company is also moving further into the micro generation sector with the launch of Photovoltaic systems and has already established a strong brand in the residential ‘renewables’ sector with its low carbon, Ecodan® air source heat pump.
“We need to find new markets for our technology and skills and heat pumps used in the wider heating industry are an important part of that opportunity,” he ended.
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