The access equipment market has grown substantially in the last five years, enjoying particularly strong growth in 2014 and 2015, driven largely by the powered access equipment rental sector, in which companies were investing in the rapid expansion and renewal of their fleets following the disposals made earlier in the decade during the construction downturn.
The non-powered access equipment sector also experienced healthy growth in these two years, triggered by a sharp rise in new residential construction influenced by Government measures to address under supply and to encourage housing demand through schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’.
2016 and 2017 saw further improvement as growth in both residential and non-residential construction provided opportunities for all types of access equipment, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, offices and industrial, as well as housing. A recovery in the manufacturing sector, boosted by exchange rate advantages after the fall of sterling in 2016, also fed through into increased demand as a result of higher levels of site maintenance.
However, the latter part of 2017 and 2018 have seen a marked slowing of growth. Construction activity has contracted and remains fragile, in response to a significant decline in business and consumer confidence, principally due to the political and economic uncertainties arising from the Brexit process but also influenced by other economic factors such as debt levels and fear of interest rise increases.
The market is expected to remain virtually flat until 2020 before returning to modest underlying growth.