From 2012-2016, the UK powered access equipment hire market has seen reasonable growth, sustained by the buoyancy of the construction market and by the recovery in manufacturing industry. This growth is forecast to continue at a modest rate until 2021. The powered access equipment hire market is influenced by the relative health of key end-use sectors, principally new build construction and infrastructure but also other sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing and the events industry.
However, growth has been inhibited by a persistent tendency for oversupply, with new companies entering the market and existing companies expanding their fleets, leading to downward pressure on rental rates. Consequently, the hire market has grown significantly slower than powered access equipment manufacturers’ sales.
In terms of market trends, the mix of product types in the powered access hire market has changed somewhat in recent years with demand for low level access products, including small scissor lifts and vertical masts, growing more than for medium height access products. This has been driven by the shift from non-powered to powered access in this segment of the market. The market has also seen a significant expansion in the number of spider lifts in the UK fleet; though still limited in numbers, their high rental value makes them an important niche market. New product developments in powered access equipment is adding value to the hire market: recent developments have been in the area of telematics, to improve safety and to improve equipment efficiency. Legislation is an important driver of fleet renewal and legislation in the area of engine emissions is currently the main focus of concern for powered access equipment hire companies. The focus on electric and hybrid-powered equipment has increased as a result.
Looking forward, prospects for the construction industry, which remains the key influence on the powered access equipment hire market, is for low level growth in the medium term. Specific sectors that offer growth prospects for the powered access hire market include warehousing, triggered by the continued growth of internet shopping, the telecoms sector, where access equipment is used to install, repair and service telecoms masts, and the events industry, which is being boosted by the promotion of the UK as a venue for major sporting and music events and a visitor destination, a drive that is being supported by the weaker pound. However, depressed rental rates remain the major concern within the hire sector, and there is little expectation within the industry that this will change in the near future, due to the level of oversupply and competition within the market.