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A difficult 2020 for European rental markets amid the pandemic, but a return to growth ‎in 2021

A difficult 2020 for European rental markets amid the pandemic, but a return to growth ‎in 2021
ERA Europe
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A difficult 2020 for European rental markets amid the pandemic, but a return to growth ‎in 2021

IMAGE SOURCE: European Rental Association (ERA)

The European Rental Association (ERA) has released its 2021 Market Report. Developed with the support of the ERA Statistics Committee, the ERA Market Report has been the reference source of intelligence for the European equipment rental market since 2008.

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In 2020, equipment rental companies and other companies providing rental services generated a total rental turnover of more than EUR 25.2 billion in these countries.‎ At a constant exchange rate, the equipment rental industry in the 15 countries analysed and the Baltic region declined by 7.2% in 2020. In 2021, there is an estimated growth of 6.3%, with 2022 forecast to increase by 5.6%, also at a constant exchange rate.

The overarching theme from this year’s report is that 2020 was a difficult year for all the markets covered, ‎even for those that managed to remain positive amidst the pandemic. Consequently, some markets fell ‎considerably (France, Italy, Spain, UK), while others also lost ground but fared better overall (Switzerland, ‎Sweden, Germany). This trend continued into the first quarter of 2021 before seeing returns closer to pre-‎pandemic levels of activity later in the year. ‎

The COVID-19 pandemic took Europe by surprise last year and continues to hamper the recovery in some ‎markets, both directly and indirectly. The immediate impact differed from country to country. The Nordic ‎countries, which did not lock down and with almost no site shutdowns, performed better than southern ‎Europe and the UK, which faced severe lockdowns and disruptions to activity. With Brexit having now taken effect, the ‎UK finds itself in a difficult position as the sourcing of materials now incurs increased costs, and the labour ‎shortage, present across Europe, is further exacerbated.‎

The reopening of most European economies after the first quarter of 2021 proved beneficial for rental ‎activity as construction was able to pick up and other sectors of the economy also reopened. ‎The performance throughout the rest of the year improved in most markets and now points to a solid ‎growth forecast for 2021, mainly in Southern Europe and the UK, which were the worst-hit regions, while ‎growth in Nordic countries and Eastern Europe remains more constrained.‎

It is important to stress the extreme conditions of 2020 and 2021, which have been analysed with our ‎forecasts. Large peaks are expected this year, and further significant growth is expected in the short term. ‎

The report is available digitally for ERA members (EUR 500) and for non-members (EUR 1,200).

Source: European Rental Association (ERA)