Worldwide MEWP fleet nears 1.5 million but uncertainty overshadows

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The mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) rental market is still thriving, with the worldwide fleet nearing 1.5 million units, but uncertainty clouds longer-term outlooks, according to the latest analysis from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)

In the UK revenue per unit fell by 3% across 2018 and was overtaken by France for the first time, after French revenue per unit rose 5% in 2017.

While Brexit uncertainty shadows the UK, the US-China trade war and Presidential elections set for 2020 muddy the waters. Markets are booming in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, where MEWP rental grew very strongly in the past year, by 8-10%.

IPAF’s Global Powered Access Rental Market Report is compiled by research intelligence company DuckerFrontier, formerly Ducker Worldwide.

For the past two years, IPAF’s Powered Access Rental Market Report was positive across the board, with the US in particular exceeding expectations and experiencing steady growth. And the European MEWP rental market also sustained impressive growth across most key indicators in all ten countries under study. In the UK and some Nordic countries, however, growth plateaued and outlooks were more pessimistic.

The European MEWP rental market as a whole began to show growth in 2015, this was sustained in 2016 and 2017, with France seeing double-digit growth in 2017. This trend continued in 2018, with France and Italy experiencing 7% annual market growth, the Netherlands seeing an 8% increase and Germany and Spain growing by 9 and 10% respectively.

In 2018, the European MEWP rental market revenue was worth an estimated €2.75bn ($3.3bn), the market having grown significantly in 2018 (6%). Both construction and non-construction sectors generated increased demand.

In the UK continued intense market competition and uncertainty linked to Brexit forced rental rates down slightly (-2%). In Nordic countries, especially Denmark and Finland, rental companies also faced strong overall pressure on rental rates, which remained static. MEWP rental still outstripped construction growth in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the UK.

It seems 2018 may be a turning point and investment is expected to stabilise from 2019 onwards.

The market outlook in 2019 and beyond shows that uncertainty prevails, however, particularly in the UK and the ongoing trade war between China and the US is starting to impact the exports of some European manufacturers, particularly in Germany.

Across 2018, the worldwide rental MEWP fleet size reached 1.47 million units, up from 1.35m at the end of 2017.

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