Forklift truck orders for 2013 are expected to be 0.7 per cent up on last year, according to a survey by Oxford Economics for the British Industrial Truck Association.
It expects orders for 27,019 trucks for the whole of 2013, and by 2016 both actual shipments and new orders of trucks will have broken through the psychologically significant 30,000 barrier – back to pre-recession levels.
The survey found that 40 per cent of BITA members are more optimistic about general economic prospects than they were six months ago, with the remainder feeling the same – but none feeling less optimistic.
The percentage of respondents expecting a “significant increase” in sales has nearly doubled from around 10 per cent six months ago to nearly 20 per cent for this survey.
A resurgence of demand for counterbalance trucks has led to forecasts for counterbalance trucks being revised upwards to 13,806 for the year, an increase of 3.7 per cent on 2012’s figure.
In contrast, warehouse bookings were weaker than expected with an anticipated total of 12,878, with forecasts for this year revised downwards to a decline of 2.4 per cent compared to an earlier projected increase of 1.7 per cent, however a return to growth is predicted for 2014.
James Clark, secretary-general of BITA, said: “The contrast between counterbalance and warehouse bookings is interesting but it should be remembered that in 2012 counterbalance bookings were 26 per cent below their pre-recession peak, compared to warehouse bookings at just 8 per cent below their peak.”
“The lift truck sector seems to be reflecting the wider sentiment that the economy is improving and the generally more positive economic outlook. The increase in enquiries and demonstrations is encouraging, but it will be interesting to see if these translate into orders in the coming months.