Pandemic impact hits sales of construction equipment


SALES of construction and earthmoving equipment in the UK fell by 39% in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2019, as the impact of Covid-19 took hold.

Sales in the second quarter fell by a massive 54%, reflecting the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, after showing a 22% decline in Q1, compared with the same period 12 months earlier.

The figures were revealed by the construction equipment statistics exchange, which is run by Systematics International in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA).

More positively, the monthly pattern of sales in Q2 shows that sales in June were down 36% on 2019 levels, in comparison to more significant falls of 74% in April and 54% in May.

This suggests that the low point in new equipment sales due to the pandemic was reached in April, with sales below 800 units. Recovery was underway in June, with sales reaching just over 2,000 units, as the construction industry continues its return to work.

There was strongest demand for mini and midi excavators in the first six months of the year. Sales for this product were down by 23% in the first half of the year, which is less than half of the fall experienced by all of the other equipment types.

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

The construction equipment statistics exchange also covers retail sales of equipment in the Republic of Ireland. This shows a 30% decline in sales in the first half of 2020, compared with 2019. Sales in Q1 were only 8% down on last years’ levels, but then fell by 51% in Q2.