UK sales of construction equipment suggest market recovery is underway

By Jonathan Rose
August 12 2020, 15.00

Sales of construction equipment fell by 39% in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, according to new data.

New data released by the construction equipment statistics exchange run by Systematics International Ltd show UK shows a 22% decline in the first quarter, and that sales in the second quarter fell by 54% compared with 2019, reflecting the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The monthly pattern of sales in quarter two, however, presents a far more positive story and suggests the construction equipment sector is taking its first steps on the road to recovery.

Paul Lyons, market information manager at Construction Equipment Association (CEA), said: “Sales of new equipment were down in Q2 and the first half of the year, due to Covid, but are showing a steady recovery in May and June, after reaching the low point in the market in April.”

Following significant falls of 74% in April and 54% in May, the decline in sales in June was 36% below 2019 levels which clearly shows the low point in sales was reached in April due to the pandemic.

As the construction industry continued to open up in June, sales reached just over 2,000 units from below 800 units in April.

The most popular equipment type, mini and midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes), has seen the strongest demand in the first six months of the year with sales down by 23%.

Other equipment types experienced falls of 50% or more in sales, with telehandlers (for construction only) and compaction rollers seeing the biggest declines of over 60% compared with 2019.

Mr Lyons said: “I think a lot of the smaller machines of this type are used in house building which is one of the construction sectors that has held up better than most.”

Regional sales in the first six months of 2020 compared with 2019 show sales of earthmoving equipment in Wales and the West Midlands have been most resilient, with sales down by only 19% and 26% respectively.

Sales in the North West, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and London were also better than the average national decline.

In contrast, the weakest sales have been in the South East (excluding London), down by over 50%.

Data Source: The construction equipment statistics exchange is run by Systematics International Ltd. This scheme is run in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), the UK trade association.

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