The fierce growth in sectors like retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics has bolstered the growth in the demand for forklift trucks in material handling. Forklift trucks have an important role in industries to handle materials movement from one place to another.
From a classification perspective, the entire range of forklifts can be segregated into three categories i.e. Light duty (1 to 3 tonne), Medium duty (4 to 8 tonne), and Heavy duty (10 tonne and above capacity).
In India, light-duty forklifts with the load capacity of 1 ton to 3 ton are dominating sales volumes as there have been many SME companies operating in the country. However, a trend of medium-duty forklifts is anticipated to be seen over the next few years.
Players in the forklift industry are offering products with a focus on operator comfort, safety and ultimately productivity in mind. Products are designed to be more reliable, efficient and service friendly. Currently, AC drive forklifts are becoming popular as they reduce the maintenance and increase the operational uptime.
The push to go electric came into forklift trucks much before it was even talked about in the auto sector. With organisations becoming more and more conscious about environmental impacts of diesel forklifts, the demand for pollution-free greener forklifts has been increasing in the country.
New emerging product types of battery-operated electric forklifts are gaining momentum in the country. Electric forklifts are now available with many special attachments for specific applications with lower cost of ownership. Customers have started preferring electric forklifts over diesel variants.
The growing attractiveness of the forklift truck market in India has drawn attention from of lot of MNC companies. Most of these companies are eyeing to enter the market through collaborations, M&As, strategic partnerships etc. An expansion is bound to happen in the sector and that will be a win win for the end user industry segment as the industry will get to see innovation in new product launches.
Similarly, demand for forklifts from the rental market has been growing at a rapid pace. The growth of rental market has been more aggressive than what it had been 4-5 years back. Earlier, the market was limited with small rental companies which were moreover localised. Their fleet was utilized to make temporary arrangement to meet peak loads and stop-gap arrangements to meet the delivery schedule until the purchased equipment could be deployed. But now, the scenario is changing due to OEMs providing complete solutions to the industry, including rental services.
Forklifts up to 5 tonne capacity are the major selling segment and contribute to almost 85 per cent of the total requirements. Though this segment will continue to be the major growth driver, a considerable growth in heavy-duty forklifts segment is anticipated, due to an increase in import/export activities and exponential growth in ICDs.