According to figures published by the UK Construction Equipment Association (CEA), retail sales of construction and earthmoving equipment were 17% lower in the third quarter this year compared with the same quarter in 2019.
Overall sales in the first three quarters of 2020 were 31% below 2019 levels during the same time period.
On a positive note, however, this is an improvement on the position at the end of the previous quarter, when sales were 38% below 2019 levels at mid-year.
The CEA report that strong sales in September has helped to reduce the deficit compared with 2019.
At over 2,600 units sold in September, equipment sales were said to be only 7% below 2019 levels and can be considered the first month to see sales return to near normal levels since February, before Covid-19 hit.
The prediction from the CEA now reflects that equipment sales for the full year might be in the range of 25% to 30% below last year’s levels, provided modest recovery in the fourth quarter – which is traditionally quietest quarter of the year.
This chart provides an update on the ranking of sales for the major equipment types, showing the size of the decline in the first three quarters of the year compared with the same period in 2019.
This shows a similar pattern to previous months with the most popular equipment type, mini and midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes), continuing to see stronger demand than all of the other equipment types. Sales of mini/midi excavators in Q3 were 7% above 2019 levels, and reduced the shortfall in year to date sales to only 13% below 2019. Strong demand from the house building market is reported to be supporting sales for these smaller machines. Sales of many of the other major equipment types are still over 40% lower than 2019 levels on a year to date basis.
The construction equipment statistics exchange also covers retail sales of equipment in the Republic of Ireland. In Q3 sales matched 2019 levels, and have reduced the shortfall in the first three quarters of the year to 19% below last year’s levels.