Industrial vehicles market: increasing competition

Industrial vehicles market: increasing competition

Market to reach $14.75bn by 2021

Technological advancements and increasing need for stacking boost the global industrial vehicle market growth, says a report

September 2017

The global industrial vehicles market, in terms of value, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 1.86 per cent from 2016 to 2021. The market, currently valued at $13.45 billion is projected to reach $14.75 billion by 2021, according to a report. The increased industrialisation and setting up of warehouses to support hub and spoke model for various sectors are expected to drive the industrial vehicles market.


Industrial vehicles are nothing but motor vehicles which are specially designed for the transportation of the goods and for logistics purposes between warehouse distribution centres to the stores that contain finished inventory. Industrial vehicles are available in variable sizes and are constructed in such a way that they can carry heavy goods.

The industrial vehicles play an important role in the transportation of goods to the retail outlet, loading and unloading stock from the warehouse, and storage of raw materials and finished goods.


Rapid industrialisation and increase in the number of warehouses for better management of manufacturing industries and e-commerce have globally driven the global industrial vehicle market. Global economic change and increasing population are other factors that are contributing to the market growth. Technological advancements and increasing need for stacking boost the global industrial vehicle market growth.

 There is a huge demand for vehicles that are automated, that works on battery and driverless thus propelling the market growth. Internal combustion engines are in high demand in the modern manufacturing firms, development firms, and shipping organisations. However, customised industrial vehicles require huge installation costs which hamper the market growth to some extent.


The global industrial vehicle market is segmented based on its application, product type, drive type, and geography. The application segment is categorised into cargo applications and industrial applications. Based on product type, the global market is bifurcated into aisle trucks, forklifts, container handlers, and tow tractors. The container handler dominates the global industrial vehicle market. The drive type segment is fragmented into battery-operated, internal combustion engine, and gas-powered. Geographically the global market is segregated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Forklifts also known as forklift truck or fork truck or lift truck are industrial vehicles with a fork attached to them to transporting materials over short to medium distances. Forklifts are used in the paper industry to transporting large paper reels.

These machines are also used in ports and logistics centres for unloading and loading goods from a container. Forklifts are used by steel and iron manufacturers in foundries, forging plants, and steel plants for transporting raw materials, coils and other finished products.

These machines are also used in the automotive industry. They are also used to handle and store large and heavy pieces of woods, radioactive waste disposal, and in the beverage industry, etc. Tow tractors are industrial vehicles for transporting raw materials and goods to and from warehouses and distribution centres.

These tractors can pull multiple trailers simultaneously, which are attached to its rear, thus forming a train to transport materials. Like forklifts, tow tractors do not have a fork attached to them.

Aisle trucks are used for material handling in narrow aisles. Container handlers or reach stackers are used in transporting and stacking containers over short distances. Industrial vehicles can run on gasoline, diesel, battery, LPG, CNG, etc.

Internal combustion engine industrial vehicles to hold the largest share in the industrial vehicles market, by drive type

The internal combustion engine (ICE) segment is estimated to account for the largest share in the industrial vehicles market. The primary advantage of ICE industrial vehicles is that their engines produce more torque and are suitable for towing applications. ICE engines offer better acceleration and lift speeds, and have lower maintenance costs than battery-operated industrial vehicles and gas-powered vehicles. The demand for these vehicles are increasing due to increasing trend of ICE container handlers being used by the material handling departments and warehouses, as ICE container handlers can lift heavy loads and are most useful for outdoor applications


Container handlers are expected to hold the largest share, in term of value, in the industrial vehicles market. This can be attributed to enable goods to be stacked at greater heights, which has triggered the demand for reliable and technologically advanced industrial vehicles. Due to increase in transportation network between different countries and continents has led to the increased stocking of goods in warehouses which are further distributed through the wholesalers and distributors.

This has led to increase in demand for container handlers to lift heavy loads. The demand for container handlers is high in developed countries such as North America and Europe. The demand is expected to increase in emerging economies such as China, and India, where new infrastructure projects are being launched.


By geography, the industrial vehicles market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa and Latin America. North America is a prominent industrial vehicle market in the world, with the US being the largest market in this region. Canada and Mexico are other major markets in North America.

Germany is the largest market in Europe. UK, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, and Netherlands are other major markets in Europe. Middle East and Africa is a significant industrial vehicle market led by Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Latin America is another major industrial vehicle market led by Brazil and Argentina.

However, it’s the Asia Pacific, which is one of the dominant industrial vehicle markets in the world, led by China. Japan, India, South Korea, and Australia

The level of competition in industry is increasing significantly, owing to which the major investors are shifting their target from developed countries to developing countries such as China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

China has the largest number of warehouses in Asia Pacific owing to increase in demand to stock goods at warehouse. This has led to an increase in industrial vehicle production volumes over the years, with OEMs catering not only to the domestic demand but to overseas demand as well.

The major players in the industrial vehicles market includes Toyota Industries Corporation (Japan), KION Group AG (Germany), Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, (US), Crown Equipment Corporation (US), and Jungheinrich AG (Germany).

Governments across the world are focusing on reducing vehicle emission. This is also driving the growth of electric industrial vehicles. Major automotive manufacturers such as BMW AG, Daimler AG and Volvo Car Corp are focusing on developing and selling electric industrial vehicles in the coming years.

However, there is a lack of innovation and R&D for industrial vehicles. OEMs need to invest heavily in R&D to enhance the ability of industrial vehicles to lift heavy loads and to improve efficiency in order to reduce turnaround time. Automated industrial vehicles and customised industrial vehicles have a higher installation cost than other industrial vehicles. These vehicles have not yet penetrated emerging markets, which constitute a major share of the global industrial vehicles market.

The high installation cost is one of the major factors preventing manufacturers from entering the Asia-Pacific market, particularly in countries such as India and China.

The major firms operating in the market are Toyota Industries Corporation (Japan), Kion Group (Germany), Hyster-ale Materials Handling (the US), Crown Equipment Corporation (the US), Jungheinrich (Germany), Hangcha Group (China), Konecranes (Finland), Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift (Japan), and Anhui Heli (China).

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