Indian equipment market hits record high

By Chris Sleight |  15 March 2019

Sales of construction equipment including mobile cranes grew 35 per cent in India last year. It was the third successive year of robust growth, and took the market to a record high of 98,204 units. This level of demand was some 44 per cent above the previous market high, seen in 2011.

Off-Highway Research managing director, Chris Sleight said, “It would be hard to overstate how buoyant the Indian market has been over the last three years. Demand has more than doubled in just three years from the low point in 2014 and 2015. It is now comfortably the third largest equipment market in the world after China and the US. Inevitably, the general election will be disruptive this year, but over the medium to long term we expect the Indian equipment market to keep growing.”

In volume terms, the most important factor last year was a huge and somewhat unexpected surge in backhoe loader sales. They leapt from 32,728 units sold in 2017 to an unprecedented 45,552 machines – a near 40 per cent rise.

Backhoe loaders have been hugely popular in India for decades, and have always been the country’s highest selling construction machine. In recent years there has been evidence of contractors moving more towards crawler excavators, and Off-Highway Research believes this is still the case for professional construction companies on larger contracts.

However, the backhoe loader remains the quintessential entry-level production the Indian industry, and the boom in construction in the last three years has encouraged entrepreneurs to enter the segment. In addition, backhoe loaders are increasingly being sold to customers in rural areas for small-scale construction and water resources schemes.

In addition, the Indian crawler excavator segment saw strong growth last year, with sales rising 27 per cent to more than 25,000 units. Notwithstanding the continued popularity of the backhoe loader, crawler excavators are becoming increasingly important in the Indian industry and are selling in volumes which have never been seen before.

Off-Highway research forecasts an 11 per cent decline in sales this year due to the disruption that the general election will cause. However, the longer term trajectory for India is for growth in equipment sales and demand is expected to surpass 100,000 units by 2021.

Off-Highway Research’s updated data for India is now available to subscribers to the Indian Database Service. The information can be accessed via the Subscriber Login link on, or by clicking here. The update includes actual sales and production figures by brand/OEM in 2018 for 16 equipment types, while the forecast has been extended to 2023.

Detailed analysis of the figures will be published in April in Off-Highway Research’s Annual Review of the Indian construction equipment industry. This forms part of clients’ subscriptions to the Indian Service and Indian Market Reports. The Annual Review is also available for non-subscribers to purchase. Contact for more information.

Key findings form the new data and forecast will be discussed at Off-Highway Research's breakfast briefing on Tuesday 9th April, during the Bauma exhibition. Click here for more details and to book your place.

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