Retail sales of mobile construction and earthmoving machinery in the UK increased by 48% year-on-year in 2021 to reach a new peak.
A count of the number of machines sold – ignoring the size or value – reveals that approximately 36,200 units of selected equipment types were bought by UK rental companies and construction contractors.
This was not only 48% more than 24,500 units bought in 2020 – the first pandemic year – but also 13% more than the 32,000 bought in 2019.
In fact, being higher than 2019 and 2018 made 2021 the best year for plant sales since the financial crash of 2007/08.
Machines included in the count are excavators, road rollers, wheeled loaders and telehandlers (but sales of telehandlers to farmers are not counted).
Telehandlers (for the construction industry) saw the strongest growth in 2021, with sales reaching more than double the 2020 levels. In contrast, sales of mini/midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes) were only up 33% after being the strongest growing product in the previous year.
An analysis of regions reveals that sales growth was strongest in the northwest and northeast of England, at more than 75% above 2020 levels. In the West Midlands, unit sales grew by only 15%.
Equipment sales in the Republic of Ireland are also reported in the statistics exchange, separate to UK sales. Sales in the last two quarters of 2021 were at similar levels to 2020, recording modest increases of 2% for both quarters in Q3 and Q4 of 2020. However, after experiencing strong sales in the first half of last year, sales for the whole of 2021 finished at 26% above 2020 levels.