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Strong Q1 for forklifts

Forklift truck orders started 2016 at their strongest level in recent years before softening slightly in the second quarter, according to the latest market index from the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA).

A recent upward trend in demand peaked in March 2016, when an annualised number of 33,400 units were ordered. This represents an 89% increase on the bottom of the market in Decem­ber 2009 and highlights how strongly the industry has fought back from the global economic downturn.

The political uncertainty in June caused by the impending EU referendum caused a slight cool­ing of the market in quarter two, with a 10% slowdown in orders, but the market remains at histor­ically high levels, underpinned by a number of sound fundamen­tals, despite the subsequent leave vote.

Manufacturing is the largest single sector user of industrial forklift trucks at almost a third (33.2%) of the market. This has grown slightly from 33% in 2015. Counterbalance trucks continue to be the most in-demand type of industrial truck, accounting for 47.3% of transactions so far in 2016, slightly down from 48.8% in 2015.

Transport and warehousing makes up a significant part of the ‘other’ classification which accounts for 36.6% of transactions when combined, up from 34.9% last year. There is nothing to sug­gest this will change any time soon, according to the index, with online giants such as Amazon and ASOS continuing to expand.

The retail distribution sector has seen a steady proportional decrease over the past five years. Having accounted for 19% of trans-actions in 2011, this has steadily fallen to 15.7% for 2016 to date.

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