Posted February 24, 2021

Positive news for off-highway equipment

Interactive Anaylisis report says COVID-19 slashed 2020 growth to 2.6 percent, but a recovery to 6.5 percent is predicted for 2021.

Interact Analysis has released a new report, The Off-Highway Vehicles Market showing that due to the impact of the pandemic, market growth slowed to 2.6 percent in 2020 but will recover to 6.5 percent in 2021. In the long term, the CAGR between 2019 and 2029 is forecast to be 3.6% in unit shipment terms.

The slow 2020 growth rate saw global sales of construction equipment being hit particularly hard in most regions except China, owing to the closure of construction sites and cancellation of events to control the spread of the virus.

Global sales of construction equipment were recovering in the second half of 2020 which is why a recovery of the order of 6.5 percent for the whole off-highway vehicle sector is predicted for 2021.

Stringent anti-virus measures meant that China was the only major region to buck the global downward trend in 2020, and most of its construction and manufacturing activities recovered to a normal level as early as May. Overall, for example, China reported 37 percent growth in excavator sales and 40 percent growth in telehandlers. 

Agricultural machinery, which is a new addition and was not covered in the previous version of this report, currently occupies the largest segment of the off-highway market and it was the only category in the sector to have a relatively strong 2020 on a global basis.

In spite of COVID-induced factory slow-downs and closures, global farm machinery sales grew in 2020 owing to good weather and strong crop production and the need to replace ageing machinery. Some of the strongest growth figures for the sector include 17 percent for tractors in North America and 24 percent for combine harvesters in Europe.

The longer-term forecast is expected to be positive for farm machinery as the rate of mechanization increases in developing markets, but Interact Analysis predicts that the overall volume of material handling equipment sales will surpass that of agricultural equipment from 2025 as online shopping, e-commerce and warehouse automation spur the demand for light equipment such as forklift trucks.

Battery technology in off-highway equipment

Discussing the prospects for vehicle electrification in the sector, Alastair Hayfield, senior research director at Interact Analysis, says: “While we predict that over 36 percent of shipments of off-highway vehicles will be electrified equipment by 2029, the overwhelming majority of these will be smaller vehicles where battery technology is more suitable.

"Electrification of compact construction vehicles offers many benefits, minimizing emissions and noise levels, allowing the equipment to be used in enclosed environments such as inside buildings and in other noise-sensitive areas.

"For many of the environments where material handling typically works, such as airports and logistics centers, there is already a high demand for ‘greener’ equipment. These places will continue to adopt electrification very aggressively.

"Electric tractors may make inroads in some agricultural scenarios, but agriculture faces other challenges on the pollution front, such as enteric fermentation – the production of methane by farm livestock, next to which pollution from diesel-powered machinery pales into insignificance.”  

About the report 
The research for this report was conducted during the period September 2020 – February 2021. During this timeframe considerable work was carried out to generate the most extensive set of data produced on the market to date.

The report provides a clear perspective on the prospects for different categories of machinery in the sector, by country, by industry and by powertrain. Multiple interviews were conducted with stakeholders in the off-highway vehicle industry – manufacturers, vendors, and end-users.

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