Based on the KION Group’s assessment, the global material handling market was unable to maintain the relatively high level of growth that it recorded in 2021 (measured by revenue). But growth remained at a very high level on the back of significant price increases in the Industrial Trucks & Services market and the processing of the backlog of orders from 2021 in the Supply Chain Solutions market. Demand was dented, however, by the war in Ukraine, by the downturn in the global economy and simultaneous surge in inflation, and by the ongoing measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic in Asia. In the KION Group’s view, the energy crisis in Europe, tighter monetary policy at the central banks, and ongoing supply restrictions also had a negative impact on the market as a whole.
Industrial Trucks & Services
Based on the KION Group's estimates, the global market for industrial trucks including services grew in value terms compared with the prior-year period, mainly driven by the effect of general price increases and despite lower demand. The economic conditions took an increasing toll on demand for industrial trucks over the course of 2022. Order numbers in the first quarter were actually higher year on year, but the rate of growth then dropped off sharply as the months went on. According to the KION Group’s estimates, the second half of the year was marked by a steep decline compared with the second half of 2021, which meant that it was not possible to match the prior-year volume during the reporting year.
Order numbers for the reporting period are likely to be much lower than in the prior-year period in the EMEA region. For the Americas region, the KION Group anticipates a modest year-on-year decrease. In the APAC region, order numbers were probably also down substantially compared with the prior-year period, partly due to the measures taken in Asia up to the end of the year to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The KION Group expects the share of the global market attributable to IC counterbalance trucks to have fallen again in line with the growing shift toward electrification, driven in part by environmental requirements. The share of global orders attributable to electric forklift trucks and warehouse trucks increased accordingly.
Supply Chain Solutions
According to the KION Group, and backed up by research institute Interact Analysis, the global market for supply chain solutions saw further year-on-year growth in 2022 (measured by revenue) despite a generally uncertain macroeconomic climate, with rising interest rates pushing up the cost of capital, for example. Although there was a sharp fall in demand in the e-commerce segment, this was offset by a higher volume of investment in other customer segments.
In the breakdown by customer segment in the project business, the food and beverage, and grocery retail/wholesale sectors were the main driving forces in the anticipated expansion in the supply chain solutions market in 2022. There was a modest decline in general merchandise, the biggest customer segment by volume, which was due solely to a lower level of demand from pure e-commerce providers. All regions (EMEA, Americas, and APAC) saw their markets grow.
On the whole, prices for the commodities used by the KION Group went up over the course of 2022. International sanctions on Russia and Belarus led to sharp rises in prices, particularly for energy commodities, on average over the year. For example, the oil price surged to over US$ 100 at the end of February and remained at this level until the middle of 2022 before approaching the US$ 80 mark again before the end of the year. After reaching a high for the year in April, the steel price went on a steep decline as the economy weakened and ultimately fell short of the average price achieved in 2021. The nickel price quickly dropped back down after surging at the start of the war in Ukraine. However, the average for 2022 was still much higher than in the prior year. Copper surpassed its price level in 2021. The price of rubber fell.