The global forklift market size was valued at USD 63.08 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 182.08 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The increasing demand from the e-commerce sector and the shift towards automation of manufacturing plants is expected to boost market growth.
A forklift, a lift truck, is a powered industrial vehicle used for lifting, transporting, and stacking materials. It is commonly used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and construction sites to handle heavy loads and improve efficiency in material handling operations. Forklifts have a hydraulic lifting mechanism and forks or attachments at the front that can be raised and lowered to lift and carry loads. They are designed to move materials over short distances within a facility, typically on smooth, flat surfaces. Forklifts come in various sizes and capacities, ranging from small electric-powered forklifts used indoors to large diesel-powered forklifts capable of lifting several tons of weight.
The forklift operator sits in a driver's compartment, which includes controls for steering, lifting, and lowering the forks and other operational functions. Forklifts can be maneuvered in tight spaces and narrow aisles, allowing them to navigate crowded warehouse environments. Forklifts are essential for various material handling tasks, such as loading and unloading trucks, moving pallets, stacking goods on racks, and transporting heavy items within a facility. They are versatile machines that handle various materials, including palletized goods, crates, drums, and large containers. Safety is critical to forklift operation, and operators must undergo proper training and certification to ensure safe handling practices. It is crucial to follow safety guidelines and regulations to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.
|Market Size||USD 182.08 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
The rise in disposable income, internet penetration, and shopping convenience has led to a rise in the e-commerce and m-commerce industries. With increased online shopping, unpredictable shipping/shopping patterns, and direct-to-customer shipments, there has been considerable growth in retail sales. The growth in retail sales has resulted in a notable change in warehouse operations. Warehouses are no longer just shipping fewer pallets and bulk cases; they are fulfilling large orders for individual items.
Thus, workers and forklifts must be more efficient in the location, selecting, and transporting goods in the warehouses. The COVID-19 outbreak has also prompted the e-commerce sector to adopt robotic forklifts to enhance order fulfillment services. In this regard, vendors in this space emphasize innovation to address the needs of the e-commerce industry. For instance, in May 2021, Toyota Material Handling, a unit of Toyota Industries Corporation, partnered with Bastian Solutions; the partnership was intended to develop two autonomous vehicles. The launched vehicles were explicitly built for manufacturing facilities and distribution center operations.
Material handling equipment is the assortment of products used to store and transport raw materials and other goods. Equipment such as storage and retrieval systems and forklifts streamline the supply chain distribution channel and enhance production processes' operational efficiency and workflow. It also manages production plant operations for optimum resource utilization. Manufacturing industries are continuously inclining towards automation. This leads to unrelenting innovative technical enhancements of industrial automation systems, owing to which the demand for lift trucks is rising across several end-use industries.
Forklifts also offer other advantages, such as faster work (24/7), accuracy in production, low maintenance costs, consistent quality results, and reallocation of skilled workers to other zones of the production processes. The advent of new equipment, technologies, and systems has fundamentally changed how several manufacturing industries function.
Operating forklifts is a tedious task and requires trained labor. Various economies have made it mandatory for manufacturers to provide operational and maintenance training to end-user employees. For instance, according to the norms set by Singapore’s Government Agency, the Ministry Of Manpower, each forklift operator must be recertified once every three years. Moreover, additional training should be conducted for the operation of forklifts having a capacity above five tons to ensure operators’ competency.
Accredited training providers or suppliers must conduct training, provided they are competent. Market players are focusing on offering training through their dealers. For instance, Toyota Industries Corporation provides one-on-one training through their local dealership programs. In Singapore, the training should comply with the SS 573:2012 standards and the WSH Guidelines on the safe operation of forklifts.
The demand for electric/battery-operated forklifts is increasing due to the stringent emission regulations. China is considered the major user of internal combustion (IC) forklifts. However, the Chinese government has taken measures to reduce emissions, increasing the demand for battery-operated forklifts. Electric forklifts have zero emissions, which is environmentally friendly. Unlike gasoline, diesel, and liquid propane gas IC engines, electric forklifts have no exhaust. They do not emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which ensures the health of operators and workers nearby.
Hence, electric forklifts are useful for indoor storage applications. Companies in various sectors, such as food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and furniture, use electric forklifts for warehousing applications. Electric forklifts also have low maintenance and operating costs compared to IC forklifts. Electric forklifts require lower maintenance as they have fewer operating parts than IC forklifts. They need fewer fluid replacements than IC forklifts, which use coolants and engine oil.
Based on region, the global forklift market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global forklift market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 10.2% over the forecast period. Several factors contribute to North America's strong position in the forklift market. Firstly, North America has a robust industrial sector, including manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and construction, which are major users of forklifts. The region's strong economic growth and infrastructure development drive the demand for efficient material-handling equipment like forklifts. Secondly, North America has a well-established and mature market for forklifts. Adopting advanced technologies in material handling processes, such as automation and robotics, has fueled the region's demand for innovative and high-performing forklifts. Moreover, North America has stringent safety regulations and workplace standards, which emphasize using reliable and safe equipment like forklifts. These drives replace and upgrade older forklift models with newer, technologically advanced ones that comply with safety standards.
Additionally, North America is increasingly focused on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. This has led to a growing preference for electric-powered forklifts over internal combustion engine models. Electric forklifts align with environmental regulations and offer benefits such as lower operating costs, reduced noise levels, and zero emissions, making them popular in the region.
Europe is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 11.9% over the forecast period. This projection highlights several factors contributing to the region's growth in this industry. Firstly, Europe is known for its focus on technological advancements and innovation. The forklift industry in Europe has been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and integrating them into design and functionality. Automation, connectivity, and driver-assist systems have significantly developed, resulting in more efficient and productive forklifts. These technological advancements enhance operational efficiency, reduce downtime, and improve overall performance, making European forklifts highly sought after.
Furthermore, the increasing demand for warehouse automation is driving the growth of the European forklift market. The e-commerce industry continues to expand rapidly, and the need for efficient and automated material-handling equipment has grown exponentially. Forklifts play a vital role in warehouse operations, and their integration with automated systems enhances productivity and reduces labor costs. Europe has a strong presence of logistics and distribution companies investing in advanced warehouse automation solutions, thereby driving the demand for forklifts in the region.
Asia-Pacific is a key player in the global forklift market and is anticipated to experience substantial growth over the forecast period. This can be attributed to various factors, including rapid industrialization, urbanization, and the flourishing e-commerce sector in China, Japan, India, and South Korea. These countries have witnessed significant economic growth and infrastructure development, increasing demand for material-handling equipment like forklifts.
Latin America is experiencing economic growth and industrial development, leading to increased demand for material-handling equipment like forklifts. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile have witnessed significant expansion in the manufacturing, construction, and logistics sectors. These sectors rely heavily on efficient material handling equipment to enhance productivity and streamline operations, driving the demand for forklifts.
The Middle East and Africa region is experiencing rapid urbanization and infrastructure development, which drives the demand for material-handling equipment like forklifts. Countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and South Africa are investing in large-scale construction projects, including residential buildings, commercial complexes, and transportation infrastructure. Forklifts are essential for these projects to handle heavy materials, transport goods, and facilitate efficient logistics operations.
The global forklift market is bifurcated into power sources and class.
The global market is bifurcated based on power sources into internal combustion engines and electric.
The internal combustion engine segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 10.6% over the forecast period. The global forklift market comprises various segments, and one of the dominant segments is the internal combustion engine segment. Forklifts powered by internal combustion engines, such as gasoline, diesel, or liquid petroleum gas (LPG), are widely used in various industries and applications. Internal combustion engine forklifts offer several advantages contributing to their market dominance. These forklifts have a higher power output and lifting capacity than electric ones, making them suitable for heavy-duty operations and handling larger loads. They also have faster acceleration and higher travel speeds, which can improve productivity in material handling tasks.
Another advantage of internal combustion engine forklifts is their versatility. They can be used inside and outside, which makes them good for various work environments. This flexibility allows forklift operators to handle warehouse tasks, manufacturing facilities, construction sites, and other settings.
Based on class, the global market is bifurcated into Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4/5.
The Class 1 segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 8.1% over the forecast period. Class 1 forklifts offer several advantages contributing to their market dominance. Being electric-powered, they are environmentally friendly, emitting zero emissions during operation. This aligns with the increasing focus on sustainability and reducing carbon footprint in industries worldwide. Electric forklifts also have lower operating costs than their internal combustion engine counterparts since they do not require fuel and have fewer maintenance requirements.
The Class 1 segment includes different types of electric forklifts, such as three-wheel and four-wheel forklifts, with varying load capacities and features. They are often used in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and other indoor environments where quiet and emission-free operation is preferred. Class 1 forklifts are designed with advanced features for improved maneuverability, stability, and ergonomic comfort, ensuring efficient and safe material handling.