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Construction equipment industry in Europe - statistics & facts

With historical roots stemming from the industrial revolution, Europe was and still sustains a leading position in the global market for construction equipment and heavy equipment industry. Growing global economic relations, increasing industrialization, and urbanization across countries contributed significantly to the development of the construction industry worldwide. For example, the global construction industry spending increased steadily between 2014 and 2019, reaching 12 trillion U.S. dollars by 2019. Similarly, the construction equipment unit sales reached their highest point in 2018. During that period, over 1.1 million new pieces of equipment were sold globally. The economic rise of Asia-Pacific in the recent decades has been a challenge for European firms to effectively compete and sustain strong market positions globally. Based on country-level comparisons, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are the three major leaders in the European construction equipment market. In addition to global business dynamics, within Europe companies also fiercely compete with one another given the free-trade zone within the European Union (EU). Although the share of German construction equipment sales increased between 2017 and 2020, the share of France and the UK is on the decline.

European firms in the global market for construction machinery

Changes in regional economic performance significantly affect the overall business performance of some firms across regions. Even though European firms were the ones that paved the way for the development of construction equipment and the heavy equipment market’s emergence, European firms today do not hold the major positions in the global market. As of 2019, Caterpillar (U.S.), Komatsu (Japan), and John Deere (U.S.) were the global leaders in construction machinery manufacturing. Three out of twelve major companies in this market are based in Europe, with the largest being Volvo of Sweden. During the same period, Volvo Construction Equipment (Sweden), Liebherr (Germany), and Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (Sweden) were the major European firms based on sales values. Although the global sales of Liebherr stagnated between the fiscal year of 2008 and 2014, the company gained momentum in 2015. Consequently, the company increased its global sales and reaching the peak figure in 2019, with over 11.7 billion euros in economic value generation.

Outlook of the European market in the aftermath of COVID-19

According to estimates made prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the construction and heavy equipment market in Europe was predicted to generate over 40 billion U.S. dollars in economic value by 2026. For instance, the construction equipment sales in Europe increased continuously and reached their peak until 2019. Yet, after the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe in February 2020, the industry experienced a sharp decline in 2020. It is forecasted that even until 2025 the sales figures in this market will not recover back to their 2019 figures. Most of the economies across Europe suffered a strong decline in construction equipment sales. Spain was one of the worst-hit during the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019. The decline in construction equipment sales in Spain was almost 52 percent. On the other hand, the Turkish market for construction equipment experienced high positive growth rates throughout 2020.
In a disaggregated market analysis, almost all submarkets of the European market for light and heavy construction equipment experienced a negative development during 2020. The light compaction equipment segment was the only one that experienced a positive change in sales during this period, with a growth rate of roughly 5.3 percent. Besides, all segments and product groups declined considerably in 2020. For some of the product lines, the economic damage was more persistent than others. Yet, road equipment product groups in the European construction equipment market experienced a quick recovery in 2020. For instance, the road equipment product groups grew by roughly 30 percent during the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Construction equipment industry in Europe

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Construction equipment industry in Europe - statistics & facts

With historical roots stemming from the industrial revolution, Europe was and still sustains a leading position in the global market for construction equipment and heavy equipment industry. Growing global economic relations, increasing industrialization, and urbanization across countries contributed significantly to the development of the construction industry worldwide. For example, the global construction industry spending increased steadily between 2014 and 2019, reaching 12 trillion U.S. dollars by 2019. Similarly, the construction equipment unit sales reached their highest point in 2018. During that period, over 1.1 million new pieces of equipment were sold globally. The economic rise of Asia-Pacific in the recent decades has been a challenge for European firms to effectively compete and sustain strong market positions globally. Based on country-level comparisons, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are the three major leaders in the European construction equipment market. In addition to global business dynamics, within Europe companies also fiercely compete with one another given the free-trade zone within the European Union (EU). Although the share of German construction equipment sales increased between 2017 and 2020, the share of France and the UK is on the decline.

European firms in the global market for construction machinery

Changes in regional economic performance significantly affect the overall business performance of some firms across regions. Even though European firms were the ones that paved the way for the development of construction equipment and the heavy equipment market’s emergence, European firms today do not hold the major positions in the global market. As of 2019, Caterpillar (U.S.), Komatsu (Japan), and John Deere (U.S.) were the global leaders in construction machinery manufacturing. Three out of twelve major companies in this market are based in Europe, with the largest being Volvo of Sweden. During the same period, Volvo Construction Equipment (Sweden), Liebherr (Germany), and Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (Sweden) were the major European firms based on sales values. Although the global sales of Liebherr stagnated between the fiscal year of 2008 and 2014, the company gained momentum in 2015. Consequently, the company increased its global sales and reaching the peak figure in 2019, with over 11.7 billion euros in economic value generation.

Outlook of the European market in the aftermath of COVID-19

According to estimates made prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the construction and heavy equipment market in Europe was predicted to generate over 40 billion U.S. dollars in economic value by 2026. For instance, the construction equipment sales in Europe increased continuously and reached their peak until 2019. Yet, after the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe in February 2020, the industry experienced a sharp decline in 2020. It is forecasted that even until 2025 the sales figures in this market will not recover back to their 2019 figures. Most of the economies across Europe suffered a strong decline in construction equipment sales. Spain was one of the worst-hit during the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019. The decline in construction equipment sales in Spain was almost 52 percent. On the other hand, the Turkish market for construction equipment experienced high positive growth rates throughout 2020.
In a disaggregated market analysis, almost all submarkets of the European market for light and heavy construction equipment experienced a negative development during 2020. The light compaction equipment segment was the only one that experienced a positive change in sales during this period, with a growth rate of roughly 5.3 percent. Besides, all segments and product groups declined considerably in 2020. For some of the product lines, the economic damage was more persistent than others. Yet, road equipment product groups in the European construction equipment market experienced a quick recovery in 2020. For instance, the road equipment product groups grew by roughly 30 percent during the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

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