Annual sales orders for forklifts in the UK have risen for the first time in three years.
According to the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), sales orders for forklifts increased by 24% in 2010, with engine-powered counterbalance forklifts recording the largest increase.
BITA, which is the sole provider of industrial truck sales statistics in the UK, says engine-powered counterbalance forklifts, which make up 32% of the overall market, grew 30% in 2010. This equates to an increase of 29% and 32% for diesel and LPG forklifts, respectively.
Orders for electric-powered rider warehouse equipment, dominated by reach trucks, rose by 29%, while electric-powered counterbalance forklift orders jumped by 22% in 2010. Pedestrian trucks finished the year with a rise of 15%.
The increase in sales is partly due to the UK's emergence from the global recession in the later period of 2009 but BITA says it had already seen evidence of recovery in the forklift market in the months preceding that point.
"BITA's 2010 UK Forklift Truck Market Outlook noted evidence of a rebound in manufacturing activity in Q3 and Q4 2009 due to an increase in exports and restocking. The service sector had also begun to rise again, which gave reason to expect a positive outlook in 2010 for the industry as a whole," BITA secretary James Clark explains.
Clark says BITA continues to experience "strong demand" for its technical advice and guidance, especially its pocket-sized Safety Booklets and technical Guidance Notes and expects a "steady increase" in sales orders for all forklift categories in 2011.
According to BITA, the UK forklift market contracted sharply in 2009 - shipments fell by over 41% and bookings were down nearly 34% as demand declined in the first half of the year and the later part of 2008.
The UK Forklift Truck Market Outlook is BITA's annual economic forecast for the forklift market that is typically issued in May every year, exclusively for its members. The trade association represents 82 forklift manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and media operating in the UK.