According to survey results released today by GE Capital, Equipment Finance, participants in the construction equipment industry are more optimistic about 2013, with 75 percent saying they expect retail sales of construction equipment to increase by at least three percent this year, up 10 percentage points over last year’s survey. Within this group, 24 percent say they expect sales to increase six to eight percent. More than three-quarters of respondents say the best time to increase inventory is within the first half of 2013. Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds cite slack demand for new construction — both residential and commercial — as the biggest hurdle facing construction equipment distributors this year. Slightly more than half of respondents said improvement in the U.S. economy will have the greatest impact on the construction industry. Rising prices for construction materials (20 percent of respondents) and access to credit for end-users (14 percent) were the next most important factors. “These results appear to confirm what we’re seeing, which is a gradually strengthening construction market,” said Jim Kelly, general manager of GE Capital’s Vendor Finance business. “Although there are a handful of U.S. economic issues that may create uncertainty and temporarily hamper growth in the first half of the year, it appears that retail construction is picking up, which should lead to increased commercial construction later this year or early in 2014.” Kelly noted that the federal highway bill, passed in July 2012, should stimulate increased public works activities. Earthmoving equipment — instrumental in road building — is expected to be in greatest demand this year, according to 45 percent of respondents. At the same time, 22 percent believe compact equipment will most popular and 14 percent chose materials handling equipment. To stay on top of developing trends, participants can access GE Capital’s Construction Industry Research Monitor here: http://www.americas.gecapital.com/insight-and-ideas/industry-research. GE Capital’s survey was conducted Jan. 15-17, 2013. The 49 respondents included a variety of construction industry participants.
About GE Capital, Equipment FinanceGE Capital’s Equipment Finance business provides commercial leases and loans ranging from $5,000 to $25 million for the wholesale and retail financing of equipment to thousands in North America in over 12 industries. With long-term relationships and dedicated channel support, Equipment Finance works with small, medium and large enterprises as well as state and local governments. From web-based application submittals to online account management, its dedicated industry professionals bring knowledge and expertise to every relationship. GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit www.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital). GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.