Global equipment markets flat in 2013

By Chris Sleight08 April 2013

Forecasts for major construction equipment markets in 2013 by Off-Highway Research

Forecasts for major construction equipment markets in 2013 by Off-Highway Research

Earthmoving equipment sales in five major regions will remain level this year, according to new data from specialist consultant Off-Highway Research. Sales volumes in China, India, Japan, North America and Western Europe are expected to be unmoved from 2012 levels at 674,483 units. However, the company expects this to be due to weakness in North America and Western Europe being offset by growth in Asia.

The Chinese construction equipment market, by far the largest in the world, is expected to grow +4% this year to 301,520 units. Crawler excavators and wheeled loaders are expected to remain the dominant products, accounting for more than 85% of all earthmoving machines sold. However, Off-Highway Research expects an above trend increase in mini excavator sales, with +7% growth taking volumes to 28,500 machines.

Mobile cranes, another high-volume construction machine in China, are expected to see sales almost unchanged with 2012, at 21,400 units.

Equipment sales in India are expected to grow +7% to 54,415 units. Backhoe loaders are expected to account for more than 60% of earthmoving machines sold, with some 33,500 units forecast for this year. Crawler excavator sales are expected to rise +11% to 15,500 machines, while wheeled loader volumes are seen increasing +22% to 2,200 machines.

A +38% rise in equipment sales in Japan last year saw it move ahead of India as the world’s third largest construction equipment market, with 64,860 machines sold. This sharp increase was driven by reconstruction work in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and sales are expected to rise a further +6% this year to 68,741 units.

However, volumes in North America are expected to fall back by some -8% this year to 137,975 machines, following the steep +19% climb of last year and +22% in 2011. Off-Highway Research said that with fleets being renewed over the last year, rental companies were expected to buy fewer machines in 2013.

Sales in Europe are forecast to fall -6% this year to 111,832 units, following 2012’s -4% decline on the previous year. Drops will be seen in the region’s three largest markets, with France down -3% and both Germany and the UK falling -7%. Together, these three countries account for more than two thirds of construction equipment sold in Europe, by volume.

There will also be little cheer for two formerly large European markets. The Italian market is forecast for another -8% fall to 7,337 machine sales in 2013, following on from the -30% drop it saw last year. At its height in 2007, some 30,679 construction machines were sold in Italy.

There is an even more striking comparison to be made in Spain, where just 1,157 pieces of construction equipment are expected to be sold this year – the same number as 2012. However, in 2007, the market hit a volume of 21,053 machines, which is to say it has shrunk to about 5% of the size it was six years ago.

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