WWEMA Window: Market Indicators Survey Reflects Depressed Sales, High Hopes
By Linda Budzinski, Director of Membership and Marketing for WWEMA
Water and wastewater equipment manufacturers have had a tough year, but as a whole, they remain optimistic about their prospects for growth in the coming months.
In August, the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) conducted a Market Indicators Survey to gauge members’ experiences over the past 12 months and their expectations for the next 12 months in eight key categories:
- Design Work
- Domestic Sales
- International Sales
- Material Costs
- Industry Market Growth
In perhaps the most telling of the categories — Domestic Sales — the results from the past year painted a grim picture. Asked to “Indicate percent growth rates experienced in the water and wastewater sector over the past 12 months,” 43 percent of respondents indicated that they had experienced a negative growth rate in domestic sales, 18 percent experienced no growth, and 39 percent experienced a positive growth rate.
This compares with previous WWEMA Market Indicator Survey responses regarding domestic sales as follows:
- March 2011: 28 percent negative growth; 21 percent no growth; 51 percent positive growth
- September 2010: 29 percent negative growth; 19 percent no growth; 52 percent positive growth
- February 2010: 25 percent negative growth; 16 percent no growth; 56 percent positive growth
The August 2012 responses reflected a clear shift toward shrinking domestic sales as compared with the previous relatively stable figures.
What’s more, the rate of negative growth was steeper in the most recent survey, with the number of respondents indicating that they experienced a negative rate of growth of -10 percent (the lowest category available on the survey) at 21 percent, as compared with 11 percent of respondents in March 2011, 7 percent of respondents in September 2010 and 9 percent of respondents in February 2010.
Despite this, when asked to “Indicate percent growth rates estimated in the water and wastewater sector over the next 12 months” in the Domestic Sales category, respondents indicated that they feel as though the bleeding is stopping and sales will improve. Only 11 percent of respondents indicated that they expect a negative rate of growth, 18 percent expect no growth and 71 percent expect a positive rate of growth.
Survey results from the past 12 months’ “pre-sales” phases of WWEMA members’ businesses — Design Work, Quotations, and Bookings/Orders — lend some credence to this sense of optimism, with numbers that were slightly more positive than the domestic sales figures.
A complete breakdown of the survey results in all eight categories are being made available exclusively to WWEMA members.
WWEMA represents the industry's leading water and wastewater equipment manufacturers and technology providers. For more information, visit www.wwema.org.