SCOTLAND bucked the trend in UK equipment sales in 2023 after seeing a 5% increase compared with the previous year.

New figures reveal Scotland was one of only two regions which saw sales ahead of 2022 levels, the other being the south east of England (+18%). The biggest falls were the north west of England (-23%) and London (-20%).

The figures were revealed by the construction equipment statistics exchange, which is run by Systematics International Ltd. The scheme is run in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA).

Sales of UK-wide construction and earthmoving equipment dipped in December, resulting in Q4 sales ending up at 29% below the same period 12 months earlier. The figures represent the lowest quarterly level of sales since Covid, at around 6,500 units. For the full year, UK sales in 2023 reached 34,300 units – 8.8% below 2022 levels.

In the first half of 2023, sales were 8% above 2022 levels, but in the second half they ended up 25% below. Sales in the early months of the year were still benefiting from the ‘catch-up’ impact of supply chain constraints in 2022, which extended lead times for the delivery of machines. In contrast, sales in the second half of 2023 were impacted by declining levels of construction activity, particularly in housebuilding.

Wheeled loaders (+10%) ended up as the strongest-selling product in 2023. Following strong sales in Q4, telehandlers for construction saw the second-highest growth levels and ended up at 4% above 2022 figures.

The fall in equipment sales overall in 2023 was said to be driven by declining sales of excavators, with mini/midi excavator sales 10% below 2022 levels and crawler excavators 18% below the previous year.