Global Material Handling Equipment

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Material Handling

Global material handling equipment demand is forecast to grow 5.1% annually through 2026 to $194.5 billion, supported by:

  • expanding global agricultural, energy, forestry, manufacturing, mining, and logistics and transportation sectors
  • surging e-commerce and the related construction of new facilities
  • increasing use of state-of-the-art material handling equipment technologies in mature markets because of growing concerns about workforce issues
  • shifts toward more capable and reliable models, as well as reduced use of manual material handling techniques in developing nations
  • the adoption of new product standards, industry regulations, and environmental rules that encourage investment in new machines
  • a rebound in global tourism activity, which will encourage product sales at airports, ports, entertainment facilities, and retail locations

Labor Shortages & New Worker Protections Support Gains in the Large Manufacturing Market

Manufacturing, particularly of durable goods, has long dominated the market for material handling equipment. Durable goods are widely used and labor-intensive to manufacture without machinery, making them among the first applications in which significant machinery investment is worthwhile in developing areas.

Despite this large established base, manufacturing markets continue to offer strong opportunities for new sales. Industrial enterprises around the world will increasingly replace older material handling equipment with newly developed technologies because of intensifying competition, adoption of new government regulations, and growing concerns about a variety of workforce issues.

Workforce issues are of particular importance in driving sales of new material handling equipment. Labor shortages, rising labor costs, and skilled technician shortages will push manufacturers in many countries to invest in automated models. The adoption of new worker protections will similarly encourage the shift to newly developed models with greater capabilities and additional safety features.

Trade & Distribution Market to Record Fastest Growth

The diverse trade and distribution segment of the global material handling equipment market is forecast to grow at the fastest rate of any market, aided by surging e-commerce activity and a rebound in international trade. Among trends boosting demand are:

  • purchase of material handling equipment for use in new warehouses, fulfillment centers, and customs facilities
  • construction of new retail and wholesale establishments as tourism continues to recover around the world
  • use of high-value, advanced material handling technologies – such as automated storage and retrieval systems and automated guided vehicles – in trade and distribution applications

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