Equipment rental companies accounted for 9% of global wheeled loader demand last year, more than 14,500 unit sales, according to a new report from specialist consultant and market forecaster, Off-Highway Research.

Wheeled loader graph OHR

The proportion of sales to rental companies, however, varied dramatically around the world. In mature economies rental companies were among the most important customer groups, in some cases buying more machines than traditional end-users, reported Off-Highway Research. However, in emerging economies sales to rental companies were almost non-existent, it added.

Off-Highway Research managing director, Chris Sleight, said, “In most markets construction contractors are the largest wheeled loader customer group. The exception is Japan, where slightly more unit sales are made to rental companies than contractors. In Europe and North America rental tends to be the second most important group – behind contractors, but ahead of traditional applications like mining and quarrying.”

He continued, “However, in emerging markets wheeled loader rental in the sense of distinct and specialised industry is almost non-existent and accounts for only a few percent of sales. Equipment rental does go on in these countries, but it tends to be quite localised and informal.”

Total global wheeled loader sales last year reached 163,139 units, a 33% rise on 2016, and these machines had a retail value of US$14.8 billion (€12.74 billion). The key driver of this growth was a surge in the Chinese market, which represented 43% of global sales in 2017. Demand in 2018 is expected to exceed 170,000 units for the first time in five years.

The underlying factor here was a sharp increase in infrastructure investment by the Chinese Government and through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Off-Highway Research said that wheeled loaders were declining in relative popularity in China due to the rise of compact and crawler excavator and ‘economical’ wheeled loaders as alternative tools.

Off-Highway Research’s new 300 page report, The Global Wheeled Loader Industry, is now available to buy from www.offhighway-store.com

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