Get the Dirt on Construction Equipment Trends at this year’s Conexpo-Con/Agg - EquipmentWatch

Get the Dirt on Construction Equipment Trends at this year’s Conexpo-Con/Agg

Returning for the First time Post Covid, this Year’s Expo Promises to Deliver

The countdown to this year’s Conexpo-Con/Agg has begun. Spanning over 50 football fields and featuring 2,800+ exhibitors and 150 education sessions – this year’s show is positioned to stage quite a post-pandemic comeback in Las Vegas.

Some of the educational sessions alone promise to deliver: How to make fact-based decisions on the ROI of heavy-duty Battery-Electric equipment; The Digital Revolution for Our Productivity Crisis; Connect Your Office and Job Site Apps and Tech; and of course, you won’t want to miss hearing EquipmentWatch’s own James Hamilton, and Brian Dewey speak on The State of the Construction Equipment Economy 2023.

One trend making itself apparent in both the sessions and from OEM’s themselves is the continued growth of sustainability in the industry and the increased use, demonstration, and adoption of alternatively-powered vehicles. Key OEM’s included in the extensive list of confirmed exhibitors for 2023 include Bobcat, Bomag, Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas, Kobelco, Komatsu, Liebherr, Wacker Neuson, Willscot Mobile Mini and Wirtgen.

OEM’s around the globe are expanding product mixes to create a supply of low or zero-emission machinery as calls for sustainability rise. For example, on demonstration at this year’s Conexpo-Con/Agg is Wacker Neuson’s 1.7-ton, EZ17e will be on display for the first time North America. This zero-emission, mini-excavator is being served up as an alternative solution for indoor applications and in areas where noise and exhaust are a factor.

The three major options for future power sources include: Battery electric; Diesel-electric hybrid; and, Hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells. Of those three technologies, battery electric leads the discussion, thanks in part to the technology’s demonstrated success in the automotive market. OEM’s are working diligently to bring the technology to larger equipment in their machinery lineups. No doubt the trend will continue throughout the exhibit hall and long into 2023.

According to EquipmentWatch’s State of the Construction Equipment Economy report, one of the main barriers to purchasing battery electric powered machinery continues to be the initial purchase cost. OEM’s cite that these costs will be defrayed over time by lower maintenance and operating costs. In fact, for battery electric machines, most of these maintenance costs fall to near zero. They use zero power (except perhaps the cooling fan and lights) until a load is applied. However, from a fleet perspective, the lack of charging infrastructure and questions about charging speeds are the most cited reasons why contractors are unwilling to make the leap to electric equipment.

What are other concerns for contractors and fleet managers in the early months of 2023? Having surveyed over 200 equipment managers and contractors, the State of the Construction Equipment Economy report details these trends and more that are likely to become apparent in conversations and demonstrations during Conexpo-Con/Agg.

What are contractors saying – what’s “the dirt”? What they say is that supply chain issues and concerns over the bottom line made equipment purchase behavior conservative over the last few years. There are several reasons why: some firms experiencing tighter cash flow remain leery about making big purchases. Other equipment owners simply point to the obvious: lackluster product availability. This has led buyers to consider alternative brands – another new trend that emerged post-pandemic.

While most equipment owners remained loyal to the brands they prefer, supply chain issues incited 32% to purchase other brands over the past year. After reflecting on their experience using alternative brands of equipment over the past year, most equipment owners are at least keeping an open mind. In fact, 29% already concluded that the alternative brand performed as well as their preferred brand. Another 8% were impressed by the ability and willingness of the dealer to partner with them. Thus, these 37% of equipment owners will continue to consider additional brands in the future.

With new product availability continuing to plague contractors at a time when construction spending remains relatively strong, many reported that whether or not to hang on to equipment — and when to act — is proving to be a vital decision for many equipment owners to make. Equipment managers are holding on to equipment for longer than they did even one year ago, unsurprising given the continuing lack of supply of new models – and, as a result, keeping values rising on the auction channel. However, equipment managers are not holding back on renting the equipment when they can’t find it to purchase, with year-over-year rentals up in the double digits.

Another trend on display and being talked about in the exhibit halls at Conexpo-Con/Agg will be how best to streamline your business and fleet management with software innovations and the adoption of new technologies. What’s “the dirt” on new technologies at Conexpo-Con/Agg this year? Brian Furnace, host of EquipmentWorld’s The Dirt Channel on Youtube urges contractors that technology is “not the big bad scary monster it seems.” In fact, that with a few best practices, heavy equipment managers, both at large companies and in small companies as well, can “take the fear out of technology so they can massively improve their efficiency and productivity.” In Episode #83 Brian and his guest discuss some of these best practices and how best to set up your company, and your staff, for technology improvements.

With buyer trends shifting, and new product lines being introduced, and new technologies streamlining how we do business, it’s an exciting time to be in the construction business. For over 60 years, EquipmentWatch has been the industry’s unbiased source for equipment ownership, operating costs, and disposition decisions.

For more on how to streamline your efficiencies, make sure to stop by the Randall Reilly & EquipmentWatch booth #N12529 in the North Hall at Conexpo-Con/Agg — here you can pick up your own copy of the State of the Construction Equipment Economy as well as see a demo on such features as our Internal Charge Rate calculator, and more. At EquipmentWatch, we not only analyze equipment values on a regular basis with our monthly Market Reports but we provide more in-depth reports such as the State of the Construction Equipment Economy. In addition to our market insights, EquipmentWatch can help you with the data you need now to set accurate rates, value your fleet, make disposition decisions, and understand when to rent equipment. We are also ready to be your principal data provider for any AI-focused projects you take on in the future.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas for what is sure to be an exciting show.