World demand for material handling equipment to reach $176 billion by 2020

The “World Material Handling Equipment” study from the Freedonia Group, Cleveland, indicates that global demand for the equipment is forecast to rise 5.3 percent per annum through 2020 to $176 billion. Advances at the global level will be driven largely by market growth in China and other industrialising nations, which will account for nearly two-thirds of all new material handling machinery demand generated between 2015 and 2020.

In Japan, the US and Western Europe sales of material handling machinery will climb at a somewhat more restrained pace during the 2015-2020 period than in developing countries.

Market growth will be spurred largely by replacement product demand. A variety of factors impact material handling replacement patterns in developed countries, including the overall economic environment, access to financing and the development of new, technologically advanced models that offer efficiency and productivity advantages.


Most mature markets will have improved sales conditions through 2020, although they are generally projected to register slower growth than their industrialising counterparts. Additional government spending on public infrastructure, growth in logistics and transportation industries, and the adoption of new material handling technologies will contribute to gains in many mature markets.

Automated storage and retrieval systems and automated guided vehicle equipment are forecast to register faster demand gains than all other product types. Growth for these products will be bolstered by rising global manufacturing activity and the expansion of the world’s logistics and transportation industries. As industrial enterprises around the world adopt advanced manufacturing techniques, build new factories and warehouses, and upgrade existing facilities, they will purchase new automated storage and retrieval systems and automated guided vehicles because they offer efficiency and productivity gains and reduce labour costs. Logistics and transportation firms will also increase spending on these products to satisfy growing demand for their services and boost the efficiency of their operations.

The “World Material Handling Equipment” study can be found at