Market and influencing factors

Industrial trucks are deployed for a wide variety of applications. Material handling products are used for tasks such as loading and unloading, linking production steps and moving pallets in logistics centres or in retail/wholesale operations. They therefore form part of the production processes and supply chains of many different industries around the world.

Measured in terms of unit sales of new trucks, the growth of the market for industrial trucks has exceeded global economic growth over the past ten years (2003-2013), rising at an average of around 5.0 per cent per year. In the KION Group’s view, the significant influencing factors for this market growth are as follows:

  • Industrialisation in China and other emerging markets is fuelling capital expenditure. The need for new infrastructure supports economic growth and is creating disproportionately strong demand for inexpensive industrial trucks.
  • As globalisation gathers pace, the value chain is becoming increasingly segmented and additional transport services are required between the individual steps of the value chain.
  • Companies are becoming more specialised and focusing on their core competences, leading to the fragmentation of supply chains. The growth of internet-based commerce is making the logistics processes for consumer products more segmented and more complex. Both of these factors push up demand for transport services.
  • The large number of trucks in use in mature markets provides a strong base for replacement business. The KION Group estimates that around 90.0 per cent of sales in western Europe are currently accounted for by replacement investments.
  • Measured in terms of units ordered, around 46.0 per cent of the global market was attributable to counterbalance trucks with an internal combustion engine in 2013. Counterbalance trucks with an electric drive accounted for around 16.0 per cent and warehouse technology for 38.0 per cent. In western Europe and other highly developed economies, counterbalance trucks with an electric motor and warehouse technology make up the bulk of the market volume, whereas the focus in China and other emerging markets is frequently on simple counterbalance trucks with an internal combustion engine. The products in the premium price segment, which is the KION Group’s main area of activity, are characterised by an above-average useful life, high productivity, comfort and high performance, combined with lower running and energy costs. According to the KION Group’s estimates, this segment accounts for roughly one in four new trucks, with a higher proportion in developed markets. Measured in terms of the number of units ordered, the middle price segment (value) is almost twice as big. The economy price segment, which is particularly important in emerging markets, accounts for around a quarter of the global market. As a result of the KION Group’s global presence and integrated business model, its financial situation is influenced not only by economic conditions but also by exchange rates and changes in commodity prices.