Material handling equipment, like just about all capital assets, will suffer a slowdown in demand over the next five years. Still, sales growth will maintain a very respectable pace worldwide, according to World Material Handling Products, a detailed product-by-product forecast published by The Freedonia Group Inc. research firm.
As it does in so many areas, Asia will lead the way. Annual sales growth for all types of material handling equipment in Asia will average 6.7 percent through 2012, down from a pacesetting 10.2 percent for 2002-2007. China alone will account for 30 percent of total worldwide demand, the researchers predict. Demand will remain hot in other developing regions, including the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa, where industrialization is creating a need for physical assets to support manufacturing and distribution activities.
Rapid industrialization in developing nations will boost demand for conventional material handling equipment—like industrial trucks and lifts, conveyors, hoists, and cranes. But that doesn't mean the high-end products will fall from favor. In fact, demand for robots, automated guided vehicles, software, and services such as systems design and project management will grow the fastest. The reason, says Freedonia, is that these and similar products and services boost material handling productivity.
World Material Handling Products (431 pages) is available for $5,700 from The Freedonia Group. For more information, go to www.freedoniagroup.com.