Large falls in rental revenues in countries across Europe this year are expected to be followed by only partial recoveries in 2021, with Germany alone recovering its losses next year. The European Rental Association (ERA) issued the forecasts during its Annual Assembly, which was held virtually for the first time because of Covid-19.

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This year’s ERA Annual Assembly was held virtually for the first time because of Covid-19.

Michel Petitjean, Secretary General of the ERA, highlighted Germany as a positive exception because not only was the impact of the pandemic on this year’s rental revenues expected to be relatively modest - down 4.8% - but it is forecast to see market growth of 5.7% in 2021.

The forecasts, made by ERA and its consultant IHS Markit, show that the hardest hit countries this year will be Italy and the UK - both suffering -16.3% drops - followed by France, down -14.4%, and Spain at -14.1%. The UK is forecast to make a +4.6% recovery in 2021, while Italy will rebound by +7.1%. Similarly, Spain is predicted to grow by +5.2% and France by +8.4% in 2021. That means these countries will have markets in 2021 still significantly smaller than in 2019.

Other countries that are expected to have fared relatively well in 2020 are Sweden (-4.2%), Finland (-5.1%), Poland (-5.2%) and the Netherlands (-5.3%).

Poland and the Netherlands in particular are also forecast to see a 3.8% rise in rental revenues in 2021, though they will remain below 2019 figures.

During the online Annual Assembly, Pierre Boels, President of the ERA, highlighted the work done during the pandemic by the ERA’s National Associations Committee, which held eight meetings during the second quarter of 2020. He said, “The past months have shown the importance of communication and exchange.”

He added that “ERA’s visibility and credibility is growing, both in Europe and worldwide.” He urged members to encourage other companies to become members; “Getting more members means more knowledge, more to share, and more power [to influence].”

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