Compact excavator rules global equipment marketplace

In five years to 2015, sales of larger crawler excavators have dropped from 33% to 24% of total machine sales, while mini-excavators have improved from 15% to 24%.

The world market for earthmoving machines closed 2015 with 628 000 units sold, down 14% compared to 2014, according to SaMoTer Outlook, a new observatory dedicated to global construction equipment implemented by SaMoTer in partnership with Prometeia, a leading company in the analysis of current trends and prospects for the Italian market, with input from UNACEA, the Italian Construction Equipment Association.

This negative result was especially the outcome of the sharp 24% drop posted in the last quarter of 2015. However, of note is that the SaMoTer Outlook shows that the types of machinery in demand on construction sites are also changing: in five years to 2015, crawler excavators have dropped from 33% to 24% of total sales, while mini-excavators have improved from 15% to 24%.

The geographical balance between market shares also changed between 2010 and 2015: North America doubled its share (from 14% to 28%), China saw a downturn from 35% to 12%, while Western Europe managed to improve from 15% to 20% of the total.

The climate of uncertainty also persisted in the first quarter of 2016, with 168 000 earthmoving machines sold on a global scale, 4 000 less (-2.5%) than in the same period in 2014. From January to March, of all types of machinery, only mini-excavators (+8%) and skid-steer loaders (+5%) went against the general downward trend in demand.

Equipment Africa says: The ever-growing trend towards smaller machines is at this point anchored by mature markets, where 70% of all total equipment sales to date are driven by compact ranges. In Africa, 75-80% of machines sold are still heavy ranges. However, as the continent continues with its development targets, more growth for compact equipment is envisaged. I believe in the next few years Africa will also move towards that direction. We will see many more compact loaders and excavators on sites. The most interesting growth prospect at this point is the compact excavator.

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