IMS: U.S. fire market takes a hit in 2009

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas—In a fire market that was down globally an estimated three percent in 2009, the U.S. fire market fared worse, with sales down an estimated five- to seven percent, Justin Siller, market analyst for IMS, told Security Systems News.

IMS issued a report on the state of the global fire market yesterday in which it said the fire market is not expected to recover to its pre-recession growth rates until 2012.

“The pre-recession growth rates in the Americas hovered between three- and five percent,” Siller said. “I’d think we’ll start to see growth rates running closer to that level in 2012 ... and getting stronger toward the end of that year.”

IMS looked at the sales of fire detection and suppression products around the world.

The cause of the decline was the poor economy with the “most significant contributor [in the Americas] being the decline in new construction.”

The decline may have been more pronounced in the Americas, but the fire market here has a solid foundation for future growth, Siller emphasized.

“The U.S. has some of the strongest legislation in place,” he said, pointing to the fact that comprehensive NFPA codes are routinely adopted around the country. He also noted that there have been important advancements in fire technology.

“There are better fire detection products that produce fewer false alarms and have earlier warning of fire,” Siller said, adding that the cost of new technologies continues to come down.

He highlighted the promise of “emerging technologies” such as video smoke detection, adding that Fike/axonX’s VSD product SigniFire now has UL and FM listings. Technologies such as VSD, wireless systems, aspirating smoke detectors, coupled with an inevitable construction market rebound and more comprehensive fire codes bode well for the long-term market potential of fire detection and suppression products, he said.

This market potential is further bolstered by the latest version of NFPA 72, which recommends that mass notification systems integrate with fire systems.

“This will drive more growth in certain areas of the fire market, certainly in the education vertical, but also anywhere people gather, and it could progress more into commercial buildings,” Siller said.