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Global construction equipment sales set to rise

Worldwide sales and forecast sales

Off-Highway Research forecast moderate but sustained growth in global construction equipment markets

GLOBAL construction equipment sales rose 27% in 2017 to 894,000 units, according to new data from specialist forecasting company Off-Highway Research. This was the highest the market has been since 2012, and represents a marked turnaround from 2015 and 2016 when worldwide equipment sales bottomed-out at 702,000 units. The market was worth US$88 billion last year, a 25% increase on 2016’s figure of US$70.6 billion.

The Chinese market, which has endured a savage boom and bust cycle over recent years, with extraordinary highs in 2010 and 2011 on the back of the Government’s stimulus plans being followed by five years of sharply falling equipment sales, enjoyed a striking rebound last year due to a slew of new infrastructure projects. Amongst other things, this saw Chinese demand for crawler excavators more than double in 2017, compared with sales levels in 2016.

Another notable Asian market is India, which continued its robust performance. Construction equipment sales in India grew by some 10% in 2017, continuing the momentum of the 36% surge seen in 2016, and taking demand for equipment to a new record high.

All countries in Western Europe enjoyed improving construction equipment sales last year. Although the most robust growth, in percentage terms, tended to be in Southern countries, volumes in these areas remain at a historically low ebb compared with levels prior to the global financial crisis. Countries in Europe where volumes are good include Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and, most significantly, Germany, whilst demand for construction equipment in both Norway and Sweden surged to all-time highs in 2017.

In North America the construction equipment market rediscovered its buoyancy last year, following a year of declining sales in 2016 as uncertainty swirled around the outcome of the presidential election. With a strengthening economy, historically high construction output and the need to renew an aging fleet of machinery, equipment sales picked up in 2017.

Chris Sleight, managing director of Off-Highway Research, said: ‘Most countries around the world saw an increase in construction equipment sales last year, with the most robust growth being in developing Asia. There was a sharp turnaround in China and the Indian market continued to go from strength to strength.

‘Growth elsewhere in the world was more restrained, but this was still welcome after what were difficult years in 2015 and 2016. Over the coming years, Off-Highway Research expect moderate but sustained growth in construction equipment demand around the globe, taking sales to more than 1 million units by 2022.’

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