The global forklift truck market size was worth USD 50 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 95 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 7.5% during the forecast period (2022-2030). Forklift trucks are robust; heavy-duty electric lift trucks are commonly used to lift and transport big things over short distances, such as container goods, crates, and other components. These trucks are widely seen in dockyards, warehousing, and recycling operations. They execute tasks including loading and unloading items from cars and moving packed goods around the storage space. Furthermore, forklifts are commonly powered by electric batteries or internal combustion engines. Moreover, these vehicles are equipped with various attachments, such as platforms and grippers, to facilitate the handling of goods and lower operating costs.
The global forklift truck industry is growing due to advancements in e-commerce. Furthermore, the market's expansion is expected to be aided by increased infrastructure investment. Also, the penetration of electric-powered forklift trucks has been rising recently owing to eco-friendly and noiseless operation benefits.
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The e-commerce market is still expanding at a robust pace. Increased demand for consumer products has increased the need for warehouse space to keep products before they are sent in bulk to retail establishments via pallet loads and cases. Various distribution tactics and warehouse technologies are used to get the products to the right place without causing any damage. Forklift trucks are used in warehouses to properly put and arrange items or goods to save time and space.
These trucks come in various variants, including counterbalanced sit-down riders, swing-reach turrets, and order pickers, and come with multiple power sources, including electric, natural gas, diesel, and gasoline. Thus, the rise in the e-commerce industry is driving the growth of the global forklift truck market growth.
Governments from a variety of countries have taken steps to improve infrastructure. The need for telehandlers is being boosted by increased real estate investment. At the same time, rising economies in developing countries like Australia, China, and Indonesia have led to large-scale foreign investments, fueling demand for forklift trucks in numerous sectors. For example, China invested $163 billion in infrastructure to combat the economic slowdown in January 2019.
Two large airports and railway terminals are among China's new development projects. In September 2018, I Squared Capital, a private equity firm based in Australia, raised $7 billion for new infrastructure projects. Construction of highways, bridges, flyovers, and class 4 necessitates handling bulky and oversized cargoes, removing muck, and handling precast sections, among other things—forklift trucks transport large or bulk items, increasing efficiency and lowering project operating costs. Thus, rising investment in the infrastructure industry is propelling the growth of the global forklift truck market.
Over the last few years, the number of forklift truck accidents has skyrocketed, rising from roughly 1,000 - 1,300 per year—drivers or pedestrians who stepped out of the car account for more than half of those injured. Furthermore, of all the vehicles used in the workplace, the forklift is one of the most dangerous because it is frequently employed near pedestrians and is more prone to become unstable, mainly if it is not adequately managed and loaded.
For example, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklift accidents resulted in around 85 deaths and 34,900 serious injuries. Also, according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), rolling or overturning a forklift, falling operator from a forklift, and workers being hit, crushed, or pinned by a forklift are the three most common types of injuries that occur. Furthermore, 11 percent of the 850,000 forklifts in the United States are in an accident. Thus, increasing safety issues and accidents related to forklift trucks are anticipated to hinder the market's growth.
Electric-powered forklifts have become more prevalent in recent years, and manufacturers have made significant attempts to outperform internal combustion (I.C.) engines. Concerns about the environment and the scarcity of natural resources such as natural gas, oil, and coal are driving the demand for long-term and sustainable renewable energy solutions.
When material handling equipment, factories, and automobiles are considered, hydrogen fuel is an excellent replacement for conventional powering equipment and machinery. Trucks that use hydrogen fuel cells are more environmentally friendly since they reduce air pollution, noise, and carbon emissions.
Leading forklift truck manufacturers are releasing new ranges of forklifts with fuel cell technology due to the benefits offered by fuel cell forklifts, resulting in significant growth for industry players. For example, at ProMat 2019, Toyota Material Handling, one of the substantial forklift truck manufacturers, unveiled a new 3-wheeled fuel cell forklift with several environmental and performance advantages. As a result, the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell forklifts represents a profitable market expansion prospect.
The global forklift truck market share is segmented by power source, class, end-user, and region.
By power source, the global forklift truck market analysis is bifurcated into I.C. engine-powered and electric-powered. The I.C. engine-powered segment was the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period. Leading forklift manufacturers are introducing a new range of I.C. engines powered with advanced and innovative features. For instance, Crown Equipment, one of the largest forklift manufacturers, has introduced a diesel option to its Crown C-5 Series. Thus, introducing internal combustion engine-powered forklifts with added features provides a remarkable growth opportunity for the players operating in the forklift market.
Electric-powered forklift trucks are suitable for bringing materials or components to a production line or clearing waste material or by-products away from this line. They are also used to load or unload heavyweight goods vehicles, either from the car's rear or side. Top players operating in the global forklift truck market forecast are partnering to develop electric-powered versions of forklifts, which is anticipated to boost the growth of the forklift market for electric power.
By class, the global forklift truck market is categorized into class 1, class 2, class 3, class 4, class 5, and others. The class 4 segment was the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 3.8% during the forecast period. Class 4 or internal combustion engine trucks are the most prevalent trucks in the material handling industry. The growth of this segment is driven by advantages such as the depreciation of the probability of product/equipment damage, efficient productivity, reduction of workplace accidents, and traffic management in warehouses. The growth of warehouses and manufacturing facilities of industries is expected to provide numerous opportunities for future market growth.
Class 3 trucks are the fastest-growing segment. Class 3 forklift trucks, known as electric motor hand operating trucks, have a high weight load-carrying capacity. Class 3 trucks possessing stroll forks are customizable and easily adjusted to accommodate pallets of differing lengths and widths. These trucks are used for indoor and outdoor applications, including loading pads, warehouse operations, food & beverages manufacturers, and sales floors. The trend of stocking up inventory in large numbers to meet the public demand and cost efficiency are the major factors that drive the growth of the electric motor hand truck market. In addition, an increase in the number of warehouses of industries globally is expected to provide various future growth opportunities.
Class 5 trucks are the second-largest segment. They are versatile forklift trucks designed for indoor and outdoor purposes. Expansion in emerging economies such as Australia offers various opportunities for the growth of the market in the future. Class 5 trucks are intended for use in indoor and outdoor operations. Key players have invested in the latest technology to ensure transport and logistics operation of customers' material handling fleets, which in turn is propelling the market.
By end-user, the forklift truck market is divided into logistics, automotive, retail & wholesale, food industry, and others. The retail & wholesale segment was the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period. Forklift trucks are efficient, highly productive trucks ideal for the rapidly evolving wholesale & retail sector. These trucks are customized and equipped with a range of options to meet the growing needs of the retailers. They assist in the manufacturing of A.C. motors, controllers, and related software as a combined system. The design efficiency of forklifts is ideal for the wholesale industry, allowing more goods per hour to be moved from a single battery charge. Adoption of forklifts in the retail and wholesale sector offers loading and unloading of trailers efficiently and quickly with minimal product damage, propelling the growth of the forklift truck market for the retail and wholesale industry.
Logistics is the second-largest segment. Resources managed in logistics include physical items such as food, materials, animals, equipment, and liquids, and abstract items, such as time and information. The Logistics area has operations such as production, labor, equipment, and regulatory cost, which also affect the core of the mining and warehouse industries. Forklifts that are used for the handling of goods in the logistics industry are included in this segment. Forklift trucks offer durable and reliable sensing solutions for the logistics and material handling market. Industrial material handling equipment requires precise positioning of heavy loads and effective control of high-speed movement delivered by forklift trucks, thus, propelling the market.
Automotive is the fastest-growing segment. The automotive industry requires a complete range of lifting trucks and attachments for truck, train, and barge handling. Trucks are optimized by the industry's need to raise materials safely and agilely. These forklift trucks enhance lifting truck performance, thus, increasing industry productivity and service and decreasing total cost to the company. Electric lift trucks are environment-friendly as they rely on batteries and produce no exhaust emissions, thus improving air quality for employees and customers, with zero engine exhaust damage to the work product.
By region, the global forklift truck market share is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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Asia-Pacific is the dominant region and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.9%. It includes countries such as China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and the Rest of Asia-Pacific. In addition, the launch of a new range of forklifts with enhanced performance is driving the growth of the Asia-Pacific forklift truck market. Warehouse space, used to store the raw material, packing material, and semi-finished & finished goods, is expanding globally. Forklift trucks use this space to move goods and place the heavy pallets into pallet racks. Furthermore, these lift trucks are available in various models, such as warehousing forklift trucks, electric forklift trucks, counterbalance trucks, and others, which provides a remarkable opportunity for the market players.
North America is the fastest-growing region. The sale of forklift trucks in North America is growing remarkably owing to rising demand in warehousing and other industries such as automotive, retail, and others. Thus, increasing demand for forklift truck market is propelling the market's growth and creating lucrative growth opportunities for the players operating in the market.
Europe is the second-largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 29 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 7.9%. It consists of the countries such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and the Rest of Europe. The forklift truck market in this region is anticipated to exhibit a lucrative growth rate owing to the introduction of the new range of forklifts and technological advancements in forklifts. Forklift trucks offer various benefits in the manufacturing industry for transferring and handling heavy goods, reducing the operation cost, and enhancing efficiency. In addition, the growing manufacturing industry in Europe will supplement the growth of the Europe forklift market and create lucrative opportunities for the players operating in the market.