World equipment market back at 2007 levels

By Chris Sleight16 March 2011

SOURCE: Off-Highway Research.

SOURCE: Off-Highway Research.

Construction equipment sales in China, India, Japan, North America and Western Europe are set to grow +8.5% this year to 807665 machines, according to data from Off-Highway Research. This figure will take sales back above the volume of 782661 units seen at the previous high point in 2007.

Although the markets are forecast to come back to their pre- credit crunch levels this year, the distribution of sales will be markedly different to 2007. Remarkable growth in China and India last year mean these two countries will account for almost 70% of construction equipment sales in these key markets in 2011, compared to less than 40% in 2007.

Stimulus spending in China saw the country's construction equipment market grow +56.4% last year to 459329 machines. The Indian market meanwhile enjoyed a +45.0% rise to 59322 units. This year, growth in China is expected to be a more moderate +6.7%, but the Indian market is expected to continue its rapid expansion with +19.3% growth.

Indeed, Off-Highway research sees similar increases for the next four years in India, taking the market to some 110000 units by 2015. India is already well-established as the third largest equipment market in the world, behind China and the US, but ahead of Brazil, Russia and Germany.

The recovery of developed world markets is expected to continue this year, with a +5.4% rise forecast for Western European equipment sales, +10.4% in North America and +17.1% in Japan. Only a handful of countries will see declines in sales this year, but among them will be major European markets including Italy, Spain and the UK. However, these losses will be more than offset by high growth in France and Germany.

But while these markets are improving, they are still a long way short of their previous peaks. The European equipment market topped-out at more than 212000 units in 2007, but this year sales are expected to hit just 104821 machines. Similarly, unit sales of 98940 machines in North America this year will be a shadow of the peak of almost 235000 units, seen in 2005.

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