UK construction equipment sales increased by 1% in Q4 2020 compared with 2019, as sales in December were 15% ahead of December 2019 levels
Construction activity continued to recover in the second half of the year, and this supported improving demand for construction equipment sales.
In 2020 overall, sales of construction equipment ended up 24.5% below 2019 levels at just over 24,000 units for the year.
While this is still a significant year-on-year decline due to Covid-19, it is less than feared earlier in the year when sales declined by 38% in the first half of the year, following the initial crash in March due to the pandemic.
Mini and midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes) saw stronger demand last year than all of the other equipment types. Sales of mini/midi excavators were only 5.5% below 2019 levels, after-sales in the last four months of the year overtook levels in the previous year.
Strong demand from the housebuilding market is reported to have been one of the key factors supporting demand for smaller machines. In contrast, sales of the other major equipment types were in a range from 28% to 57% below 2019 levels.
Construction equipment sales in Wales, the North West, and the East Midlands were the strongest, in a range from only 14% to 17% below 2019 levels. At the other end of the scale, the weakest sales were in the North East, at over 40% below 2019 levels.
Sales in the Republic of Ireland are recorded separately showed only a 14% decline on 2019 levels for the full year. Similar to the UK, mini/midi excavators were the best performing equipment type.