Excavator sales in India exceeded 25,000 machines for the first time in 2018 and backhoe loader sales grew almost 40%

Off-Highway Research estimates excvator sales in India to exceed 35,000 machines by 2023, driven by sustained investment in infrastructure.

Excavators, Backhoe loaders, India, Infrastructure, Off-highway research, Narendra Modi

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Excavator sales in India exceeded 25,000 machines last year for the first time, according to Off-Highway Research’s August 2019 Hydraulic Excavators India Equipment Analysis.

Although demand has dipped this year due to the disruption of the general election, the longer-term outlook remains extremely buoyant, with sales forecast to exceed 35,000 machines by 2023.

Demand is overwhelmingly for crawler, rather than wheeled excavators. Although the 20 tonne class remains by far the most popular, the segment is becoming more diverse, with other sizes gaining in popularity. 

The market is being driven by sustained investment in infrastructure, and the re-election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister is expected to see this spending continued. In addition, the maturing of the Indian construction market is seeing some contractors switch from backhoe loaders to crawler excavators as their machine of choice, although backhoe loaders remain hugely popular in India.

Backhoe loader sales grew almost 40% last year to reach an unprecedented high of some 45,500 units. The previous high in demand was 33,595 machines, seen in 2011. Although demand had been rising from the cyclical low point in 2015, last year’s surge was steeper than many expected. Demand was strong in rural areas and from first-time buyers.

All backhoe loaders sold in India are manufactured domestically. The scale available to OEMs along with low labour costs make the country an attractive export hub. Last year, in addition to machines built to meet domestic demand, backhoe loader manufacturers in India exported some 11% of their production.

Market disruption’s due to this year’s general election has meant the market will fall this year, but Off-Highway Research forecasts that demand will return to similar levels to 2018 over the next 2-3 years. Although there is something of a shift in customer tastes towards excavators, backhoe loaders are expected to remain hugely popular in India for the foreseeable future.

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