In another sign of the recovery gathering pace, the CEA reveals that retail sales of construction equipment are currenty 30% ahead of the same period in 2020.

Delving into the detail, sales in the first quarter of 2021 were 30% above 2020 levels, reaching over 8,000 units. Indeed, Q1 sales are even 2.9% higher than pre-COVID 2019 levels, pointing to a significant resurgence in the sector. While concerns remain regarding supply-side constraints for some components, there is growing confidence that sales should see a strong recovery for the full year.

It appears that the growth in sales is largely driven by mini and small excavators up to 10 tonnes - hence our recent market reports. Other machinery selling well in the construction sector includes crawler excavators, road rollers and telehandlers.

The construction equipment statistics exchange covers sales on a regional basis in the UK and N Ireland. The map below shows the percentage differences for sales in the main regions in Q1 2021 compared with the same quarter last year. Sales in the South East were the strongest (+39%), while Wales saw the weakest sales in the first quarter, still 2% below last years’ levels.

Sales in the Republic of Ireland are also recorded in the statistics scheme, and saw a more modest increase in March compared with the UK. This resulted in Q1 sales this year ending up at 12% above 2020 levels.