Construction equipment sales crash by 45% in March

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Retail sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in the UK market shrunk by 21.8% in Q1 2019, as the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in March causes a sharp drop

Retail sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in January and February were down by 6% compared with the same months last year. This was in line with expectations for sales this year, with a further single-digit decline expected compared with 2019.

However, in March, sales crashed by 45% compared with last year as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, and this took the overall reduction for the quarter to 22%.

In terms of the level of equipment sales, Q1 was just below 6,300 units, compared with over 8,000 units in the first quarter of 2019. In March, sales were just below 1,800 units this year, compared with over 3,200 in March 2019.

Quarterly sales of construction equipment have been on a downward path since 2018. UK sales have a very distinct seasonal pattern, and normally, Q1 would show a swing up from Q4 the previous year. However, in 2020, Q1 sales have stayed at similar levels to Q4 2019 (see figure 1).

construction and earthmoving equipment,
Figure 1.

Major equipment types in the first quarter compared with Q1 last year shows that the most popular equipment type, mini and midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes) were the most resilient in Q1, and only showed a fall of 9%. All the other types of equipment experienced falls of 27% or more, with compaction rollers seeing the biggest decline, in excess of 60% compared with Q1 2019 (see figure 2).

construction and earthmoving equipment,
Figure 2.

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