UK productivity is outstripping Germany and the US, and there is a clear willingness among customers to make investments in forklift trucks, according to the 2013 UK Forklift Truck Market Outlook which was unveiled at the AGM of the British Industrial Truck Association last week.
Jeremy Leonard, head of industry services at the consultancy Oxford Economics, said: “Capital expenditure intentions are positive, as much as they were in the 2000s, which is driving robust growth in investment goods. Manufacturers do have cash piles; what’s missing currently is the trade upswing that will lead to consumer confidence. Overall we have increased our 2013 output forecast for investment goods to 3 per cent, which is good when compared to other sectors, and shows an upward revision from six months ago.”
He pointed out that the market for warehouse trucks is set to outperform counterbalance this year as a result of strong backlogs and activity turnaround within the distribution, transport and storage sectors.
“Demand for warehouse trucks has pretty much recovered to pre-recession levels and the forecasts are strong due to the growth of e-commerce – which we anticipate driving a lot of activity in coming years.
“Counterbalance is not growing as rapidly and will take another couple of years to get back to pre-recession levels due to weaker activity in its end users, such as the chemicals sector.”
The Oxford Economics report also includes a survey of BITA members, which revealed that while some firms are still experiencing softer-than-normal order books, many members are increasingly optimistic about their prospects over the next 12 months.