According to ‘India Forklift Market Outlook, 2022’, light duty forklifts with the load capacity of 1 ton to 3 ton are dominating the sales volume as there are many SME companies operating in the country. However, a trend of medium duty forklifts (4 to 8 tons) and considerable growth in the heavy-duty forklifts (of 10 ton and above capacity) is also anticipated over the next few years, due to an increase in import/export activities and exponential growth in ICDs.
The growing market of forklift trucks in India is attracting many foreign OEMs, who are setting up base here and bringing more technologically advanced products, designed to be more efficient, reliable, service-friendly, with greater operator comfort and safety - thereby yielding higher productivity for the buyers.
Despite the sharp fall during the lockdown, India’s forklift industry has revived sharply this fiscal and is at the same level as 2019-20. It is expected that the industry will continue to grow at CAGR of 12-15% over the next 3 years. Interestingly, the market is gradually moving towards greener technology with products like battery-operated electric forklifts, which held 42% market share in 2019. There is expected to be more demand due to the increased focus on protecting environment, rising cost of diesel, more emission compliance in the industry, and the growing awareness about the advantages of electric forklifts.
Another reason for the growing acceptance of battery powered forklifts is the rapid advancements in its technologies like AC drive motor technology, Li-ion Battery technology etc. The latest AC technology is overtaking the DC technology due to its benefits such as higher efficiency, zero pollution and lower maintenance. This has brought the performance characteristics of battery powered forklifts closer to diesel forklifts.
The rental market for forklifts is also growing. Though this segment is dominated by unorganised players, the scenario is now changing with many OEMs providing complete solutions to the industry, including rental services.
The Material Handling Equipment industry of India is, no doubt, faced with opportunities for growth as well as challenges to deal with increasing competition in the market from both national and international brands. But the top players in this sector are optimistic of continued growth in the coming years and are geared up to meet demand.