SOFP Industry Opinion: Short Term Down/Long Term… Undecided?

NFPA recently released the results of the August 2015 State of the Fluid Power Industry Surveys (SOFP), electronic opinion-based surveys that are conducted amongst our manufacturer and distributor members every month.

Manufacturer Results – SOFPM

Fluid power manufacturers foresee a down fourth quarter closing out a negative 2015, but have differing opinions as to what to expect in 2016 depending on the industry segment.  Pneumatics anticipates some slight growth, while hydraulics projects a slight decline in 2016.

In August, over 53% of SOFP respondents agreed that our industry will experience continuing declines into the fourth quarter of 2015 to round out a down year.  When asked what the next twelve months have in store, 42% of pneumatic participants feel slight growth is on the horizon, while 39% anticipate no growth/decline and 19% expect some kind of decline.  On the hydraulics side, 21% look for growth, 36% expect no change, and 43% anticipate further decline in 2016.

SOFP Distributor Results – SOFPD

Fluid power distributors also foresee decline in the fourth quarter to go along with a negative 2015, but are somewhat undecided what to expect in 2016 with a close to even split between up, flat, and down.

In August, over 58% of SOFP respondents agreed that the distribution channel will decline in the fourth quarter.  When asked what to expect with the next twelve months, opinions were nearly split evenly among increase, flat, and decrease.  A very slight edge goes to growth in 2016 with 37% of responses, while both flat and decline each received 31% of opinions.

State of the Fluid Power Industry Survey

NFPA offers a variety of market reports and programs, but only one allows industry peers to express their opinion on the current and future state of our industry every month simply by answering seven multiple choice questions.  These opinions, combined with diffusion indexing and NFPA analysis, allow participants to identify the industry’s position in the business cycle, anticipate how the industry will do in the months to come, track industry backlog and hiring plans, and analyze the progress of your company compared to others.

It will be very interesting to see which way opinions sway in the coming months as the overall opinions related to the 2016 outlook are close and can change quite easily from one direction to the next.

Questions and inquiries about participating in the State of the Fluid Power Industry Survey can be directed to Eric Armstrong at or 414-778-3372.

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