Retail sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in the UK market fell by 40% in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2019. Sales in May were down by 54.5%, compared with the same month last year, as a result of the ongoing impact of Covid-19. This was a lower reduction than April, which saw a 74% fall in sales compared with 2019 levels.
In terms of the level of equipment sales, May showed a modest pick up to nearly 1,400 units, compared with just below 800 units in April. In contrast, sales in these two months in 2019 were at similar levels. While it is too early to draw any clear conclusions, this may indicate that April could be the low point in sales this year due to the pandemic. Total sales in 2020 have now reached 8,500 units in the first five months of the year.
The chart above shows sales for the major equipment types in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2019. This shows a similar picture to earlier months, with the most popular equipment type, mini and midi excavators (up to 10 tonnes) remaining the most resilient, with sales showing a reduction of under 27% this year. All the other types of equipment have experienced falls of more than 45%, with compaction rollers seeing the biggest decline of over 65% compared with 2019.
A map of the UK below shows percentage changes in regional sales in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. This shows a similar pattern to earlier months, with the strongest sales in the West Midlands and Wales, where sales are 24% to 25% down on 2019 levels. Lowest sales have been in the South East (excluding London) and North East, where sales are down between 53% to 54% on last year’s levels in the first five months.
* 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.