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IMS Research estimates that global motor drive sales in the first half of 2012 were down more than 9 percent as compared to the first half of 2011. Global motor drive revenues in 2011 were at a multi-year high and 2012 is likely to set a new peak, albeit only modestly higher, the research firm says.

The forecast shows that global motor drives sales will grow by 2.6 percent in 2012 as compared to a 15.3 percent increase in 2011; this is in line with lower predicted real gross domestic product (GDP) growth and machinery production revenues in 2012. According to IHS Global Insight, worldwide real GDP growth is forecast to decrease from 3 percent in 2011 to 2.5 percent in 2012 and then rebound to 2.6 percent in 2013, while machinery production is forecast to decline from 12.4 percent in 2011, to 7 percent in 2012, and 5.7 percent in 2013.
 
The world market for low voltage AC & DC motor drives grew from $10.5 billion in 2010 to over $12 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow to $12.4 billion in 2012. This year will represent the first year that motor drive sales have grown at single- digit growth rates, outside the most recent global recession, IMS Research says.

“Over the last few years, the majority of the increase in motor drive sales came from Asia while the Americas grew at a slower rate,” said IMS Research analyst and report author Rolando Campos, in a prepared statement. EMEA [Europe, the Middle East, and Africa] motor drive sales by contrast, have not returned to pre-recession levels. The predicted 6 percent to 8 percent year over year motor drive sales growth in the Americas, may offset slower sales in EMEA and Asia.”
 
Despite the political and fiscal uncertainty in the U.S., IMS Research says the Americas market for low-voltage motor drives has remained resilient in 2012 and revenues are forecast to grow. “The Americas are seeing stronger motor drive sales, in large part, because the U.S. is on a stronger financial footing while the Eurozone is still in the midst of its financial crisis,” Campos said. “In addition, an increase in commercial HVAC, oil, gas, and mining projects in the U.S., Canada, and South America has resulted in an increase in demand for motor drives. Finally, as motor drive prices have decreased and energy costs have increased, many companies have decided to replace motor starters and soft starters with motor drives.”
 
Throughout the second quarter of 2012, EMEA and Asian motor drive sales, by contrast, have contracted year over year. However, China’s interest rate cuts and additional spending on infrastructure has contributed to a second quarter motor drive sales increase of 5.2 percent quarter over quarter. Currently, IMS Research predicts that EMEA motor drive sales will contract by single-digits in 2012.
 
While global motor drive sales have slowed in 2012 as compared to 2011, the global economy and the motor drives market appears to be set for a stronger year in 2013 as many political uncertainties are resolved in the U.S., Eurozone, and China, IMS Research says.