Sectoral conditions

Intralogistics, with its products and solutions for the flow of material, information and goods within companies, was again a global growth market in the reporting year. An integral element of the market as a whole, the global market for industrial trucks also expanded in 2016 and registered a year-on-year increase of 7.5 per cent in new truck orders (2015: 1.0 per cent). The total number of trucks ordered across all regions and product types was 1.2 million (2015: 1.1 million). Market growth in intralogistics system business also remains strong.

The number of warehouse trucks sold rose sharply with growth of 12.9 per cent. This sector particularly benefited from the sustained high demand for small, simple trucks. The significant increase in electric forklift trucks (up by 7.5 per cent) was partly driven by ever-stricter emissions standards and advances in battery technology. Demand for IC trucks rose slightly thanks to the recovery of the Chinese market (up by 1.7 per cent). Unit sales in Europe advanced rapidly to reach a record high on the back of double-digit growth of 12.8 per cent. In western Europe, order numbers were up by 11.8 per cent in 2016, with all of the major markets except the United Kingdom registering significant gains. With an increase of 9.3 per cent, Germany lagged behind the market as a whole, but Italy and Spain generated above-average growth. Eastern Europe saw a sharp rise of 19.0 per cent, primarily thanks to the recovery of the Russian market. There was a small increase of 2.4 per cent in North America, Brazil, the largest individual market in South America, contracted by 17.0 per cent, which was a slower rate than in 2015. Other major South American markets declined too, although Central America made gains. The Chinese market rallied strongly, advancing by 14.0 per cent. This was the result of the tightening of emissions standards at the start of 2016 and a better macroeconomic situation in the second half of the year. Moreover, many companies benefited from the government’s infrastructure spending. > TABLE 014

Global industrial truck market (order intake)




in thousand units




Source: WITS/FEM

Western Europe




Eastern Europe




Middle East and Africa




North America




Central and South America












Growth in the systems business was attributable to companies’ sustained capital expenditure on expanding and renewing their warehousing and logistics capacity. Booming online sales, changes in customer needs and the growing use of Industry 4.0 technologies were mainly responsible for the continued healthy level of demand for logistics systems.

According to the Logistics and Real Estate study published by bulwiengesa AG, the space used for logistics in Germany has increased by an average annual rate of more than 8 per cent over the past five years. There is a similarly positive trend in China and the United States. It is not only e-commerce-focused players but also traditional retailers, manufacturers and third-party logistics providers (3PL) that are investing in automated logistics centres in order to align their infrastructure with the additional growth in online shopping and faster delivery times.

Procurement markets

The price of steel, the most important commodity for the KION Group, rose slightly in 2016 as demand in China picked up again. Copper prices were once more below the average for the previous year, although they rose sharply at the end of 2016. The oil price was also down year on year but began to rise sharply following OPEC’s decision in early December to cut output. In overall terms, producer prices for input goods in the eurozone fell slightly although prices for commodities went up significantly in the fourth quarter.