Global trends in forklift trucks market

Global trends in forklift trucks market

Global trends in forklift trucks market

Global trends in forklift trucks market

There are two words – growth and union. Here we will briefly discuss the market for new and second-hand machines. About second-hand the data is relative and not entirely specific. The reason for this is the purchase of forklifts and their replacement with newer models. In the last 7 years, the production and sale of electric forklifts, forklifts and warehouse equipment has increased more and more. With the advancement of modern logistics, and with the increasing demand for replacement of labor with machines, hoists and material handling equipment are indispensable.


After the end of the financial economic crisis (2011), the market gradually normalized and expanded. There has been a different but positive growth in the Old Continent, Asia and North America whitin last 3 years. In 2014, for the first time, slightly more than 1 million lifts and warehouse equipment were sold. The growth compared to 2013 is about 7.8%. In China alone, more than 365,000 machines have been sold. As compared to the previous year, it increased by 9.5%.


The positive trend in the growth of markets continues. In the last 2-3 years, not many European and Asian products have been sold in Africa. In the US, Europe and Asia, the demand for new, functional machines is growing steadily.

Sales of electric trucks in China increased

With the development of the Chinese forklift market, the product range is also changing. Traditionally, internal combustion forklifts occupy approximately 80% of China’s market share. However, demand and supply of electric trucks has increased significantly in recent years. In 2014, electric trucks accounted for 30.6% of total sales in China, up 3.5 percentage points from the previous year, registering the fastest growth in recent years. In 2015, internal combustion forklifts continued to decline, while electric forklifts, especially electric forklift trucks, increased significantly at an expected rate of over 10%.

The Chinese buy Chinese forklift trucks

Local brands account for approximately 80% of the market, of which Anhui HeLi and Hangcha hold about 45%. In the foreign brands, the Kion Group enjoys the highest share with 6.3% -7.2% in 2014 – 2017. In addition, the world leader Toyota and UniCarriers hold also stable positions.

Present and future

All manufacturers are striving to meet growing needs and optimize warehouse and logistics operations and needs. Automated vehicles and mobile robots – AGV and AMR – have been developed and found. Against the background of continuous news, a number of mergers and the creation of new structures have taken place. In fact, there are ongoing corporate negotiations and investments in the development and deployment of advanced technologies. I have discussed in more detail the benefits of automated solutions here.

On the one hand, forklift companies are accelerating the refinement of their product structure. At the same time, however, the focus is gradually shifting towards a thriving middle-class forklift market. At the same time, a number of automated vehicles are being developed that require new and not small investments. That is, big brands want everything. This is not bad for the customers as it increases competitiveness. For example, years ago UniCarriers acquired a 70% stake in Anhui Hecha; TICO purchased Tailift. In the next five to ten years, mergers and acquisitions in the production of warehouse and handling equipment will be even larger.

Will there be some shift in 2018-2019 in the Big 10?

Market leader Toyota is projected to hold its position, followed by KION Group (Linde, Still, OM, Baoli) and Junghenrich. Probable shifts can be expected at the end of the ranking between Hangcha, Doosan, Clark brands. With the so-called Big 10, the geographical distribution is interesting. Two Japanese and two German brands in the lead, followed by 2 US, 2 Chinese and 2 South Korean brands.

What about the big 20?

There are no North American brands from 11 to 20 global sales positions. The trend of 2017 is continuing and in recent places Godrej & Boyce (India) and the South American brands Platerans (Brazil) have established themselves for the second consecutive year.


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