6 February 2023

UK construction equipment sales showed strong growth in October

Retail sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in October were 11% above sales in the same month last year. As a result, sales in the first ten months of the year have almost caught up with last year’s levels, reaching 31,400 units, only 0.7% below last year during the same time period. A notable feature in October was the strength of sales for the two most popular equipment types, mini/midi and crawler excavators. Both recorded higher levels of sales compared with last year, having fallen short in earlier months. Mini/midi excavator sales were 9% ahead of October last year and crawler excavators were higher by 19%. This suggests that some of the supply chain issues associated with these products are beginning to ease.   

The pattern of sales for the major equipment types in the first ten months of the year to October is shown in the chart below compared with the same period last year. This shows percentage changes in sales year on year, ranked from the highest to the lowest, and continues to show a mixed pattern for the different machine types. Telehandlers (for the construction industry), continue to show very strong demand and are 20% up on 2021 levels. Sales of Road Rollers remain the weakest, at 8% down on last year’s levels. Sales of Mini/Midi excavators and Crawler excavators have improved, as highlighted above, and are now only between 2% and 6% below last year’s levels in the first ten months of the year.   

The pattern of sales on a regional basis in the UK and N Ireland is shown in the map below for sales from January to October, compared with the same period in 2021. This continues to show a mixed pattern across the regions. The strongest sales region so far this year remains as the West Midlands, at over 14% up on last year’s levels. In contrast, three regions are still seeing sales below last year’s levels in London (-12.5%), the South East of England (-8%) and the North West (-8.4%).   Equipment sales in the Republic of Ireland are also reported in the statistics exchange. Sales in October were very weak at 25% below last year’s levels. This leaves sales in the first ten months of the year at just under 10% below last year’s levels.     

The construction equipment statistics exchange is run by Systematics International Ltd. This scheme is run in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), the UK trade association.