Sales data published today by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) shows that, for the third consecutive reporting period since January 2010, the UK market for industrial trucks has continued to recover steadily.
In the year to June 2011 BITA members reported sales of just over 24,000 units, up 25% from the same period last year. This increase was reflected across both warehouse and counterbalance truck sales which both saw rises of 25%.
Warehouse truck sales rose to 12,400 units in the year to June 2011, bolstered by strong demand from retailers and 3PLs. For example, orders for low-level order pickers, the signature truck of the large warehouse, increased by two thirds over the last year.
Sales of counterbalance trucks reached almost 12,000 units in the same period. Of these, 36% were diesel powered, 34% electric and 30% LPG.
Chair of BITA’s Statistics Committee, David Miller, commented on the trends affecting sales: "Whilst economic indicators suggest the odds are shortening on the likelihood of the UK entering a double-dip recession, for now at least the fork lift truck market appears to be fighting back after 18 months of sharp recession.
"Shifting business models within the retail sector have resulted in successes for bulk movers such as online shopping providers and daily goods businesses, including the UK’s leading supermarkets. This has been good news for industrial truck sales, as has the creation of new distribution centres in the UK.
"More positive growth for the UK manufacturing sector also led to a strong increase in demand for counterbalance trucks in the UK over the first six months of 2011. This has been supported by the return to the market of other business sectors with large counterbalance fleets, such as the supply chain to the construction industry, parcel delivery companies and drinks distributors."
James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA,(pictured) adds: "We’re pleased to see from today’s figures that the UK lift truck market is growing in line with the predictions of our latest Economic Forecast, published at the BITA AGM in May. Based on what we have seen from the first half of 2011, we have high expectations that by the end of 2011 the market will exceed our full-year prediction of 25,000 units sold.
"After 18 months of continuous recovery, the forklift market has now climbed halfway back to its pre-recession high of 32,000 unit orders per year."
In the UK, BITA is the sole provider of industrial truck sales statistics, contributed by, and made available monthly only to BITA members. BITA’s sales statistics provide an on-going illustration of market conditions an overview of which is published externally twice-yearly.