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EU trailer market recovery accelerates: CLEAR International

June 28, 2021
On the assumption that further new waves of COVID-19 are kept under control, CLEAR envisages 10.3% growth of trailer demand in 2021

The recovery in European trailer demand in 2021 will be slightly quicker than was envisaged four months ago, according to CLEAR International’s recently updated forecasts for the European Truck Trailer Market.

This is due to a faster economic recovery in 2021 as more parts of the economy reopen and vaccination programs accelerate, the report notes. The forecasts for 2022‑25 registrations will also be moderately higher.

The trade in goods data for 2020 were “surprising,” CLEAR points out. Trade was down 24% in 2020-Q2 but down only 3% in 2020-Q4. This was despite difficulties in moving goods between the UK and the EU as a result of Brexit. For the year trade was down 10%.

Since the previous report in February, most West European countries have had their forecasts for economic growth upgraded again. 

“In 2020 most countries had investment growth levels even more negative than the falls in the GDP growth figures,” CLEAR states. “Investment growth rates have been falling since 2017-18. It is not surprising, therefore, that 10 countries in Western Europe saw falls in trailer demand in 2019 and all countries saw falls in 2020.”

In 2020 the average fall in new trailer registrations was 19% with Belgium falling by 34% and the UK by 27%. (The average fall in 2009 was 51%.)

Longer term

Perhaps more importantly, the economic forecasts for 2021-25 have all been upgraded with higher GDP and investment figures expected resulting in an upgrade to the forecast level of trailer demand.

On the assumption that further new waves of COVID-19 are kept under control, CLEAR envisages 10.3% growth of trailer demand in 2021. However, this and further growth in 2022 will not be sufficient to recover the sales lost in 2020 – it will be several years before we see a return to the levels of trailer demand witnessed in 2018.

Production of trailers was at the third highest level on record in 2018 (though well short of the 2007 figure). Therefore, before COVID-19, the industry was achieving both high levels of output and stability. The total fall in registrations from 2018 to 2020 was 23% and the fall in production was 32%, partly due to a large fall in German trailer exports.

The trailer parc (fleet size) grew by only 0.2% in 2020. It will grow very slowly in the two years that follow, according to CLEAR.

At the time of writing the corona virus outbreak was slowing in terms of infections, hospitalizations and deaths in much of Western Europe, despite the presence of the new Delta variant.

The complete report outlines when, where and how quickly the trailer market will develop through to 2025.

The West European Trailer Market Report (June 2021), with forecasts to 2025, can be obtained from CLEAR using the contact details below. A new report for the East European market was issued in April 2020. A Global Trailer Market Database is also available.

For more information, contact Gary Beecroft by email at [email protected] or by phone at +44 20 8892 8379.