Ritchie Bros sees ‘unprecedented’ demand

CLA 14/3 Feature Ritchie bross

The online equipment auctioneer Ritchie Bros has reported that it is seeing “one of the strongest demand trends in years”.

The company, which recently published its latest Market Insight report, said that with many countries across Europe easing Covid restrictions and construction output rising as a result, the demand for heavy machinery had risen “to unprecedented levels”.

With many OEMs also now facing long lead times for new equipment, the cumulative effect has been increased buyer activity at its online auctions

Ritchie Bros said, “The fact that auctions provide quick access to work-ready equipment and the company’s online Timed Auction system, which has been used exclusively in the EMEA region since March 2020, has made bidding easier and more convenient.”

Compared to the first quarter of last year, the first three months of 2021 saw traffic to Ritchie Bros’ website increase by 47%, with bidder registration rising by 49%.

Construction equipment prices

According to the company, this has also pushed equipment prices up, resulting in “a seller’s market”.

In Europe, the first quarter of the year saw the cost of hydraulic excavators increase by an average of 23% to €39,800 per unit, compared with the same period in 2020.

Alongside this, the price of wheeled loaders sold at the company’s auctions also rose, with units selling for around €25,000 each – up 5.6% on the previous year.

Jeroen Rijk, Ritchie Bros managing director EMEA & Latin America, said, “We currently see price performance of construction equipment at our auctions in Europe averaging 10 to 15% higher than a year ago. I’ve never seen anything like this in my 25 years working in the industry.”

He added, “We’re keeping a close eye on movements in the market. With pricing being strong, it continues to be extremely favourable for turning any kind of machinery into cash.”

Last week the specialist equipment provider, which recently carried out a customer survey, said construction firms across the region are currently expanding their equipment fleets in preparation for “an upturn in productivity this year”.

Rupert Craven, sales director UK & Ireland at Ritchie Bros, said, “So-called ‘shovel ready’ projects like HS2, housebuilding and the acceleration of broadband rollout programs are really driving demand.

“But what is also clear is that there continues to be growing confidence and therefore participation in online auctions across the region, which is driving both demand and bidding activity.”

Additionally, the company’s sales figures show that 12% of excavators are being sold to “out-to-country buyers”. This is 4% higher than in 2020 and is evident of an increase in international competition.

While the company’s top buyer countries are in Europe – namely the Netherlands, UK, Romania, Poland and Spain – Ritchie Bros said that around the world the demand trend appears to be similar.

Global construction equipment market

Most recently, Ritchie Bros online Dubai, UAE, auction attracted almost 1500 bidders – up 40% on the previous year.

The two-day auction, which took place in March, saw around 1470 registered bidders from 105 countries purchase over 1380 pieces of equipment.

According to the auctioneer, participant data from its March event showed that, after the UAE, Egypt has become the largest buyer market in the Middle East for the first time.

The company’s research shows that market demand was also on the up in the US, with equipment prices rising.

Rijk said, “Ritchie Bros has always been on the cusp of international equipment supply and demand. We’ve seen massive demand spikes in the past, but they are normally regionalized.

“It’s now a global tendency with increased bidder activity from all over the world, from almost all industry verticals we serve.

“Construction, agricultural, mining, transportation or other industries; demand is incredibly strong across the board. It’s an exciting time if you have equipment to sell.”

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