Off-Highway Research's forecasts for unit sales of construction equipment in 2014.

Off-Highway Research's forecasts for unit sales of construction equipment in 2014.

Sales of construction equipment in China, Europe, India, Japan and North America are set to grow +5% in unit terms this year, according to specialist consultant Off-Highway Research. All five key regions are expected to see increased equipment sales this year, with Japan leading the way in percentage terms. The last time this happened was 2004.

The industry fell -1% in 2013, with sales in these territories totalling 713,363 machines. This year is expected to see more than 747,000 pieces of construction equipment sold in these five major markets.

Despite two years of declines, China remains the biggest construction machinery market in the world in unit terms, with 301,200 pieces of equipment sold last year. Off-Highway Research forecasts a +1.5% increase in volumes in 2014 to 305,605 machines. Despite the turnaround in China’s fortunes, the market will still be well below its stimulus-driven peak of 487,642 units in 2011.

A more compelling good-news story is North America, where Off-Highway Research expects a fifth consecutive year of growth this year. A +5.7% increase in unit sales is expected to take the equipment market to 162,660 machines in 2014.

Western European markets are set for a similar improvement this year, following a two-year dip. Sales are expected to increase +4.5% in 2014 to 116,416 machines.

Japan meanwhile is expected to see a fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth, with sales rising +12% in 2014 to 101,718 machines. This would be the highest the market has been for some 20 years.

Finally, equipment sales in India are expected to return to growth in 2014 after two years of declines. The market is forecast to rise +8.4% to 60,655 machines.

Overall, Off-Highway Research’s figures indicate the global market is returning to growth after the second downturn of a double-dip recession, following the collapse of Lehman Bros. in 2008. The initial rebound in 2010 was driven by huge stimulus spending in China. The collapse of this bubble led to a second global downturn in 2012 and 2013, even though markets in Japan and North America continued to grow during this period.

For more information, visit www.offhighway.co.uk

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