IPAF Reports Illustrate U.S., European MEWP Rental Markets

The European and U.S. rental markets for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) peaked in 2008 and market rebound is not expected before 2011, according to the IPAF European Powered Access Rental Report 2009 and the IPAF U.S. Powered Access Rental Report 2009 released at Bauma. The European MEWP rental market is estimated at €2.6 billion in 2009, a decrease of 13 percent over 2008, while the U.S. rental market is estimated at $6 billion, a drop of 25 percent.

The results are based on independent studies conducted by Ducker Research, using mainly primary research in the form of interviews. The sample of rental companies interviewed here represented 42 percent of the estimated total MEWP rental market. Secondary sources such as census statistics and market indicators were also used. The 11 European countries covered were Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The studies found that de-fleeting is not as extensive as claimed. In the U.S., de-fleeting was at its peak in 2009. In Europe, small and specialist companies continue to invest. Non-residential construction activity was found to be the most important driver.

Europe and the U.S. showed key differences: Europe is a market of more specialist rental companies, whereas the U.S. market is comprised of more generalist rental companies consolidated and less fragmented than Europe. The top five rental companies in Europe account for no more than 25 percent of MEWP rentals. In comparison, the figure for the top five rental companies in the US is one-third of MEWP rentals.

The US market is seeing an oversupply of MEWPs generally, and there are noticeably few truck-mounts in the rental fleet. The situation in Europe is more varied. There are more specialist rental companies, especially in the UK, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, but there are also countries where generalists predominate, including France, Spain and the Nordic countries. Spain, a generalist market, has been more affected by the economic downturn than Germany, a specialist market that continues to invest in niche equipment. The UK market is seeing growing demand on construction sites for access equipment with no mechanical drive.

The IPAF European and U.S. Powered Access Rental Reports 2009 are available in English and can be purchased at the Publications section of the IPAF website.