Sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in the UK market grew by 2% in 2018 after experiencing a fall in the fourth quarter, according to the UK’s Construction Equipment Association (CEA).
Sales figures fell 8% in the fourth quarter of 2018 than they were in the same period of 2017.
It has been reported that the trend over the previous two years had been steady, but slowing, growth on a quarterly basis.
Retail sales in the UK market reached nearly 31,000 units, according to the construction equipment statistics exchange, which is run in conjunction with the CEA.
Crawler excavators over 10 tonnes showed the strongest growth, more than 16% ahead of 2017 levels. This pushed mini/midi excavators, under 10 tonnes, into second place at 4% growth year-on-year.
The weakest performer for equipment in 2018 were sales of telehandlers to the construction industry. After weak sales in the second half of the year, total telehandler sales in 2018 were 10% below 2017 levels.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), construction output in the UK for 2018 showed only 0.7% growth. This was the lowest level of year-on-year growth for the construction industry for five years.
Sustained demand from the rental sector is said to be a key factor in the 2% growth of sales in construction equipment, according to the CEA.
In contrast with domestic sales, data from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) showed UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment had very strong growth in 2018. The data states that exports in this sector reached £3.47 billion (€4.04 billion), an increase of 19% on 2017 levels.
The CEA said this reflected strong demand in many of the major overseas markets, and was significant for UK equipment manufacturers, as exports of equipment were estimated to account for over 60% of UK machine production.
A Terex TLB870 backhoe loader – demand from the rental sector is said to be a key factor in the 2% growth of sales in construction equipment
The CEA also said imports of equipment increased in 2018 to £1.63 billion (€1.90 billion), 11% higher than 2017, and was consistent with domestic demand for equipment remaining strong. As a result of these figures, the overall trade surplus for construction equipment was said to have risen 28% in 2018, reaching £1.84 billion (€2.14 billion).