This study analyzes the global material handling product industry. It presents historical demand data (2001, 2006, 2011) and forecasts for 2016 and 2021 by type (e.g., industrial trucks and lifts; conveying equipment; hoists, cranes and monorails; automated storage/retrieval systems, automated guided vehicles), market (e.g., durables goods manufacturers, nondurable goods manufacturers), world region and major country. This study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles industry participants.
Global demand to rise 4% annually through 2016
Global demand for material handling products is forecast to climb 4.0 percent annually through 2016 to $123.6 billion. Suppliers of automated equipment, such as automated guided vehicles and automated storage and retrieval systems, will see the strongest gains. These newer technologies enable companies to reduce labor costs, particularly in developed nations. Even in countries with low labor costs, automated technology offers improved efficiency and a limited manufacturing footprint, which has helped boost popularity of these products.
Asia/Pacific region to be fastest growing market
The Asia/Pacific region will post the fastest growth rate of any regional market through 2016, advancing 6.1 percent per year, accounting for nearly half of global increases in demand in value terms. In addition, sales of material handling equipment will benefit from recovery in the economies of many large, developed markets, which will rebound from poor performances in 2011.
Among national markets, India and China will see the fastest gains, in large part because of rising manufacturing output, which will spur demand for material handling equipment to facilitate distribution and production. The US market, which accounted for 23 percent of global sales in 2011, is expected to remain the dominant consumer through 2016. After a period of sluggish gains between 2006 and 2011, demand in the US will perform better through 2016, bolstered by improved manufacturing conditions, especially in the motor vehicle industry. Japan and Germany both possess sizeable markets for material handling products, although both countries have seen extremely modest sales growth in recent years. However, these markets are forecast to post stronger gains through 2016, enabling these countries to maintain their position among the global leaders in material handling demand.
Durable goods market to outpace nondurables
In 2011, durable goods manufacturers represented nearly 40 percent of material handling sales worldwide. This market is expected to outperform its nondurable goods counterpart through 2016, in large part because of improved conditions in several important markets, most notably the motor vehicle industry. Nevertheless, sales of material handling products to nondurable goods manufacturers will see solid gains through 2016, reflecting strong outlooks for the chemical and the food and beverage markets. Other markets, including trade and distribution companies, will see growth above the global average through 2016, spurred by the rising prevalence of international trade.
Automated products to register strongest growth
Automated storage and retrieval system and automated guided vehicles will register the strongest growth of any product types through 2016. Strong gains in automated equipment demand will reflect a shift in manufacturers’ preference for products that can enhance productivity and are amenable to integration into larger-scale factory automation and automated warehouse-type environments. Sales of the more conventional material handling products will post solid gains as well, benefiting from improved economic conditions in developed countries throughout the world.
Profiles for 43 competitors in the material handling products global industry
This study analyzes world supply of and demand for material handling systems and equipment. Among the products included in this study are forklifts and other industrial trucks and lifts; unit and bulk handling conveyors; hoists, cranes, and monorails; and associated parts and attachments. Also included are a number of automated products, such as automated storage and retrieval systems; automated guided vehicles; other types of hardware (automated conveyor systems, material handling robots, electrified monorails, and parts and attachments for automated equipment); and unbundled material handling software.) Excluded from the scope of the study are aerial work platforms, construction-type cranes and similar items sometimes considered as material handling, as well as related services (e.g., equipment maintenance).
Macroeconomic and demographic indicators presented in this study were obtained from The Freedonia Group Consensus Forecasts dated June 2012. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) historical data are derived from the national income and products accounts from the Organisation for Economic Co- Operation and Development (OECD) for its member countries, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for its member countries, and from the International Monetary Fund for its member countries that are not part of the OECD or EBRD. Sources of GDP estimates for other countries are based on information from the World Bank and a variety of sources including the countries’ statistical bureaus. GDP forecasts are developed from a consensus of public agencies and private firms.
All estimates of gross domestic product and components of GDP are done in terms of constant purchasing power parity in a benchmark year (2010) that is one year before the base year (2011) used in this study. Purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are obtained from the OECD; Eurostat; the World Bank; the International Monetary Fund; the US Central Intelligence Agency; and selected other sources. These purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are based on gross domestic product data expressed in the individual countries’ local currency, which are then converted to US dollars by valuing each country’s output at US prices in the benchmark year. This approach values the same physical output at a consistent price for all countries, thereby reducing the distorting influence of different price levels in the different countries. The alternative approach of using exchange rates to convert local currency GDP to US dollars would tend to overvalue the output of countries with high average price levels and undervalue the output of countries with low average price levels, because exchange rate conversions only partially reflect the relative prices for goods and services that are domestically consumed and invested. Furthermore, factors other than relative prices, such as demand and supply in currency markets, interest rates, and capital flows, affect exchange rates.
Once the GDP values for a country are estimated for the benchmark year, we then calculate inflation-adjusted GDP for all other years for that country based on historical and forecast growth rates of GDP expressed in inflationadjusted units of that country’s local currency. This approach ensures that the GDP series for any given country is an accurate index of changes in inflationadjusted GDP for that country. However, it also implicitly assumes that the price structures across countries do not change from those of the benchmark year. Therefore, caution should be used in comparing the relative GDP of countries in years other than the benchmark year. If the ratio of prices across two countries in a given year differs from the ratio of prices across those countries in the benchmark year, then the change in the relative sizes of those two economies as measured will not accurately reflect changes in output.
The benchmark year is chosen to be one year prior to the base year for the study for reasons of data availability. One benefit of that choice is that the ratio of prices across countries in the base year is usually similar to that in the benchmark year. Therefore, the ratio of real GDP between two countries in the base year of 2011 is generally a reasonably accurate representation of the relative sizes of their economies.
A broad range of primary and secondary sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. These include national government statistical agencies, trade associations, foreign embassies, industry experts, financial sources and material handling company sources. The US Bureau of the Census, United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Union, and various national government statistical publications were among the public sector data sources utilized. Also consulted were trade periodicals and publications, corporate annual reports, product catalogs, and other company-supplied information. In addition, personal interviews and online database searches were conducted.