According to the American Rental Association’s (ARA) latest information from the ARA Rental Market Monitor, the North American equipment rental industry posted another impressive year of growth in 2013. Overall North American rental revenue came in at $38 billion with U.S. revenues accounting for $33.3 billion and Canada accounting for the additional $4.7 billion. North American rental revenues are projected to be $41.1 billion in 2014 and reach $52.3 billion by 2017 led by strong growth in the U.S. equipment rental market coupled with steady growth in Canada.
Construction and industrial equipment rentals continued to produce the largest share of 2013 rental revenues of any U.S. segment with $22.3 billion followed by the general tool segment at $8.5 billion and the party and event segment with $2.5 billion in revenues. Overall 2013 rental revenues grew at a year-over-year rate of 6.4 percent with the construction and industrial equipment segment leading the way with year-over-year growth of 7.3 percent followed by general tool with 5.3 percent growth and party and event with 2.8 percent growth.
“These numbers suggest that the economic recovery in the construction and industrial equipment market continues at a strong pace,” says Scott Hazelton, director of consulting for IHS. IHS compiles data for the ARA Rental Market Monitor service and is one of the world’s most respected economic forecasting firms. “The stronger growth in this segment is also evidence of the secular shift we have seen in recent years that results in more rental and fewer equipment purchases by contractors and industrial customers,” says Hazelton.
Another bright spot in the forecast comes from the investment numbers. Total investment in rental equipment in 2013 was $11.1 billion. Again, the construction and industrial sector led the way with $7.5 billion in investment followed by the general tool segment with $3.2 billion of investment in 2013 and party and event with $400 million of investment. Year-over-year investment growth came in at a very healthy level of 10.3 percent overall; however the growth was slower than the torrid pace set in 2011 and 2012. “We would expect investment growth to slow as the market stabilizes after the rapid re-fleeting that occurred following the financial crisis,” says John McClelland, ARA vice president for government affairs. “These investment numbers tell us the industry has caught up on the fleet side and is now investing for the future instead of trying to catch up with current demand,” adds McClelland.
The forecast shows U.S. revenues predicted to grow at rates well above 7 percent throughout the forecast period that extends through 2017. Growth is especially strong in the construction and industrial equipment and general tool segments, which will see year-over-year growth peak at 11.1 and 15.2 percent respectively in 2015. Party and event revenues continue to grow at about the same rate as the economy throughout the forecast period.
“Overall, 2013 was another good year for the equipment rental industry as it continues to far outpace the general economy,” says Hazelton. ”We continue to see the equipment rental industry as a leader in the economic recovery over the next 5 years.”
2013 ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index:
ARA continues to see further rental penetration as indicated in the latest numbers published in the ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index. The index is designed to measure the aggregate amount of rental equipment used in construction as a share of the total construction fleet measured on an original equipment cost basis. In 2012, ARA and IHS released the first ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index, which produced a penetration rate of 50.7 percent. The 2013 index has increased 220 basis points to 52.9%.
“We believe this is a healthy increase in rental penetration on a year-over-year basis,” says McClelland. “This is a measure of rental growth measured against the entire construction fleet and not just measured against annual equipment sales. We would expect sales penetration into rental in 2013 to be much higher than 52.9 percent, however sales penetration is not a good measure of overall penetration which takes into consideration the entire fleet of existing, new and decommissioned fleet.”