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South Korea Construction Equipment Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2028
The South Korea construction equipment market is projected to achieve a value of USD 2.5 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.13% from 2021 to 2028. By 2028, it is expected that sales of construction equipment will reach 51,435 units in South Korea. The growth of this market during the forecast period can be attributed to various factors, including South Korea’s efforts to reform its electricity market towards net-zero emissions, the expansion of the e-commerce sector, and the government’s initiatives to encourage both public and private investments in the country.
In 2021, the material handling equipment segment was the largest in the South Korean construction market, followed by earthmoving and road construction equipment. Among different types of equipment, forklifts held the largest market share. The demand for forklifts in South Korea has been boosted by investments in the logistics industry, such as the expansion of fulfillment centers and the opening of new logistics centers.
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USD 2 billion in 2020
Type and End User
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The construction industry is expected to be the primary driver of construction equipment demand, dominating the market throughout the forecast period. This increased demand is mainly attributed to favorable government policies that attract foreign multinational investments, upcoming industrial developments in the construction sector, and government initiatives.
The construction equipment market is undergoing a transition towards becoming a more innovative industry by adopting intelligent systems driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analysis for service, networking, and sustainability.
In 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a global health and economic crisis, including negative effects on South Korea. However, due to the government’s economic policies and fiscal support, the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s GDP was minimal. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), South Korea experienced a 0.8% decline in GDP in 2020.
In contrast, South Korea’s GDP rebounded strongly in 2021 with a growth rate of 9.8% due to robust consumer spending and increasing exports. In fact, merchandise exports in 2021 reached a record high of $645 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 25.8%. The country’s strong export performance, along with increased business investment and government support, is expected to drive the economy forward. The latest statistics from the IMF predict a GDP growth rate of 0.3% in 2022, 6.4% in 2023, and 5% in 2024 for South Korea.
The demand for construction equipment in South Korea is set to increase due to planned investments in the construction and manufacturing sectors, as well as ongoing infrastructure projects.
As part of South Korea’s 9th Basic Plan for power supply and demand, there is a goal to increase the proportion of installed capacity from renewable energy sources to 40% by 2034, compared to 15.1% in 2020. The plan also includes shutting down all coal-based power facilities with a 30-year operational life cycle by 2034. These initiatives will require significant infrastructure construction and contribute to the demand for material handling equipment and other construction equipment in South Korea.
The country’s high internet penetration rate, which stood at 96.5% of the population in 2020 and increased by 1.1% in 2021, has fueled the growth of the e-commerce sector in South Korea. Some e-commerce companies are expanding their operations in the country, leading to an increased demand for logistics centers and related equipment such as forklifts. Moreover, trade activities at South Korea’s seaports have also driven the demand for forklifts and telescopic handlers, given the country’s export-dependent economy.
To promote public and private investments, the South Korean government is focused on improving transportation and logistics systems, constructing intelligent and zero-energy buildings, and developing smart cities. In 2021, the government allocated a budget of $20 billion to support these initiatives. Additionally, the government announced a $31.2 billion budget for private investment in the same year. These efforts aim to reduce the unemployment rate, which remains a significant challenge for South Korea after the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the government allocated approximately $17 billion towards job creation programs, including support for startups and middle-aged workers, with the goal of generating 360,000 jobs.
To address the issue of labor shortages and improve worker efficiency, the government also focuses on strengthening major manufacturing industries, such as machinery and equipment, mobile phones, automobiles, computers, household electronics, and machine tools. This involves the construction of digital clusters and the upgrading of intelligent factories. The increased activities in these industries will drive the demand for construction equipment across various sectors in South Korea.
The high labor rights standards in South Korea have made it challenging for the construction industry to hire experienced workers. However, workers in South Korea are proficient in operating advanced machinery. Construction companies face the additional challenge of paying high wages to workers and dealing with rising construction material prices. Prices of raw materials like iron ore, steel, and copper have seen significant increases since the COVID-19 outbreak. These factors have resulted in reduced profit margins for construction companies and a preference for equipment rental rather than purchasing new equipment. The declining population and increasing number of unsold housing units further restrict the demand for construction equipment in South Korea.
In response to labor shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing demand for new technologies in construction equipment to enhance worker efficiency and reduce reliance on labor. Major manufacturers like Hitachi, Hyundai, and Volvo are introducing automation, intelligent operating technology, and comprehensive machine management support systems in their equipment. Technologies such as 5G, AI, and IoT are being incorporated to address labor shortages in the construction and mining industries in South Korea.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including type and end user.
Segmentation by Type
Earthmoving Equipment – Excavator, Backhoe Loaders, Motor Graders, Other Earthmoving Equipment (Other loaders, Bulldozers, Trenchers)
Material Handling Equipment – Crane, Forklift & Telescopic Handlers, Aerial Platforms (Articulated Boom Lifts, Telescopic Boom lifts, Scissor lifts)
Road Construction Equipment – Road Rollers, Asphalt Pavers
Segmentation by End Users
In 2021, the material-handling equipment segment accounted for 50.5% of the overall construction equipment market in South Korea. It is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.39% by 2028, reaching a total of 27,992 units. This growth can be attributed to the increased utilization of material handling equipment in various industries such as 3PL, e-commerce, manufacturing, food and beverage, and general merchandise.
Furthermore, the equipment used specifically in the construction industry constituted 58.3% of the total market in 2021. Its utilization is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.36% by 2028, resulting in 31,118 units. The South Korean government has proposed a budget of $435.9 billion in 2021, representing an 8.5% increase from 2020, with a focus on accelerating economic recovery. This financial support is expected to contribute to the growth of the construction industry, with an estimated growth rate of 4.1% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023.
Hyundai Construction Equipment leads the construction equipment market, followed by Hyundai Doosan Infracore, Komatsu Group, Caterpillar, Hitachi CM, and Volvo Construction Equipment. These companies are projected to hold approximately 60% of the total South Korean construction equipment market in 2021.
Yanmar has been serving customers in the South Korea region for over 70 years; however, it falls behind Liebherr in terms of innovation, despite Liebherr having less than 25 years of experience. In 2022, Liebherr introduced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) as an alternative fuel for construction machines.
In March 2022, Hyundai Construction Equipment launched its new excavator model, HX320A, featuring high fuel efficiency and eco-friendly engines.
Key Questions Answered
WHAT IS THE GROWTH RATE OF THE CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT MARKET IN SOUTH KOREA?
The South Korean construction equipment market is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.13% during the period of 2021-2028.
WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS IN THE SOUTH KOREA CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY MARKET?
The key players in the South Korea construction machinery market include Hyundai Construction Equipment, Komatsu, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Volvo Construction Equipment, XCMG, SANY, John Deere, and Kubota.
WHAT ARE THE MARKET OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLAYERS IN THE SOUTH KOREA CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT INDUSTRY?
There are several market opportunities for players in the South Korea construction equipment industry. Companies in South Korea are expanding their logistics centers, such as Hines, which announced the development of Iljuk Logistics Center to enhance its logistical capacity. CJ Logistics also revealed plans for constructing fulfillment centers worth $621 million, resulting in increased demand for forklifts. Consequently, the expansion of South Korea’s e-commerce sector is benefiting the region’s forklift market.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST TRENDS IMPACTING THE GROWTH OF THE SOUTH KOREA CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT MARKET?
The adoption of construction equipment with automation and intelligent operation technology, along with the shift towards green hydrogen fuel-based construction equipment, represents the latest trends that are positively impacting the growth of the South Korean construction equipment market.
HOW WILL EARTHMOVING EQUIPMENT CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH IN THE SOUTH KOREAN CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT INDUSTRY?
The earthmoving equipment segment is expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the South Korean construction equipment industry, with an estimated CAGR of 4.37%.