Sectoral conditions

According to the KION Group, and backed up by studies from research institute Interact Analysis, the markets for industrial trucks and supply chain solutions including services were affected by economic and political uncertainties, elevated interest rates, and the high level of inflation in 2023. These factors had a negative impact on customers’ willingness to invest and therefore also on demand for industrial trucks and supply chain solutions. The challenging conditions in the market led to some planned investments being postponed or even halted (Interact Analysis, November 2023 and July 2023).

Industrial Trucks & Services

According to the KION Group, the global market for industrial trucks registered falls in order numbers (as measured by order intake) during the reporting period. Orders on hand were processed at an accelerated rate in 2023 due, in KION’s view, to the easing of the supply chain disruption seen in the prior year. New orders slowed, however.

Based on the KION Group’s estimates, the number of trucks ordered in the EMEA region fell sharply in 2023. The decline was even more pronounced in the Americas region, where, in the KION Group’s assessment, market growth slowed again in the second half of the year. By contrast, the APAC region recorded solid growth, which was mainly driven by the expansion of new business in China.

Based on market data published by the relevant trade association on new industrial truck orders, the share of the global market attributable to electric forklift trucks and warehouse trucks stabilized at a high level in the first ten months of 2023, holding steady at 71 percent. IC counterbalance trucks therefore accounted for 29 percent of the global order volume (World Industrial Truck Statistics, February 2024).

Supply Chain Solutions

The global market for supply chain solutions, as measured by revenue, fell short of its prior-year level in 2023. This is borne out by research from Interact Analysis. The contraction, which was primarily attributable to the EMEA and Americas regions, was due to companies delaying decisions to invest in the construction of new warehouse space owing to the higher cost of capital, which in turn caused delays to investments in warehouse automation. A slowdown in the growth of e-commerce also adversely affected demand for warehouse automation in customer segments such as general merchandise, parcel delivery services, apparel, and grocery retail (Interact Analysis, November 2023).

Procurement markets

In the commodity markets, prices came back down somewhat from the lofty heights to which they had climbed in the previous year. The price of Brent crude oil, which had surged in 2022, normalized. On average, the US dollar was down sharply compared with the previous year. The average prices of copper and nickel also fell year on year.