Confidence Survey 2013: Positive yet cautious

By Euan Youdale12 November 2013

Access International Confidence Survey 2013

Access International Confidence Survey 2013

There is a renewed sense of optimism in the AI 2013 Confidence Survey, and an overall belief that things are moving in the right direction. However, cautiousness will still play a major part in decision making over the next year.

It is worth noting the confidence levels of participants when they were asked to rate opportunity levels for their business over the next five years. At 65.5%, the figure is at its highest this year since 2008 when it stood at 71.3%, just short of 2007 when confidence was at its highest, 72.5%.

Looking at the overall growth prospects for manufacturers/distributors, rental companies and end users combined, the figures are similar to last year’s survey results (see graph). Slightly more participants are expecting growth in 2014, while some 4% less are forecasting no growth; those pointing to a decline number about the same as last year.

Increased positivity

Breaking down those results for the manufacturers, rental companies and end users individually there is an increased level of positivity when it comes to purchasing plans or sales expectations. For example 63% of rental companies worldwide say they will grow their fleet, compared to 33% last year. About half the number are planning replacement only compared to last year. The aforementioned cautiousness is evident from those with no purchasing plans from last year, which represents 15%, some 4% less than last year, but within touching distance.

The positive numbers are brought down further by the manufacturers, who are overall are expecting a mixed year ahead. Those predicting more than 10% sales growth are markedly up by 7%, but there is a significant drop in those forecasting 1 – 10% growth; from 55% last year to 39% this year. Working along that table, 12.3% are looking at 0 – 10% declines, compared to 2.6% last year, and 7% predict more than 10% declines, compared to nearly 3% the previous year.

These figures may represent a slightly more realistic view of the market compared to last year, and a sense that that, for example, in emerging markets, like Brazil and China, there is great opportunity but still many challenges hindering sustained growth.

See all the graphs and regional analysis in November/December issue of AI, out in the next few days.

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