European rental market growing – but much more opportunity, argues new research

An ERA report has revealed the market size and growth forecast for the European rental industry.

October 22, 2015 (Brussels, Belgium) –The European Rental Association (ERA) announced the publication next week of the ERA Market Report 2015, which will provide the most comprehensive data available on the European equipment rental industry. For the first time it provides country-specific data for Austria and Switzerland in addition to 12 other countries.

The research conducted in cooperation with IHS found that the European equipment rental market in the EU-28 and EFTA countries grew to €23.06 billion in 2014 at constant exchange rates – a growth of 1.9% compared with 2013.

For 2015, it estimates moderate growth in the European market of 1.4%, with a forecast of 2.7% for 2016.

However, national rental markets across Europe remained heterogeneous in 2014. An example would be that the Polish market showed strong growth at 8.8% after a sharp contraction the previous year, while the Italian market shrank -2.1%.

The report also includes figures for GDP penetration, which is rental turnover as a proportion of GDP. Average GDP penetration for the 14 countries in the report was +1.71‰. This is significantly above the remaining EU28 + EFTA countries’ average penetration of 0.77‰. Again, there are significant differences in penetration within the 14 countries.

Michel Petitjean, Secretary-General of the ERA, said: “The European rental industry as a whole continues to grow despite difficulties in some markets, particularly in central and southern Europe. Overall, growth in the industry remains correlated to construction activity. However, the variations in market penetration in different countries suggest there is room in the future for the rental market to grow ahead of the overall economy.

“At ERA we also see growing recognition of the advantages that renting brings to businesses. These include more efficient use of capital, access to a wider range of equipment, expert maintenance and servicing, compliance with regulations, and improved sustainability performance. Intensively used, carefully chosen and well-maintained equipment on demand can bring real benefits to companies across the continent.”

The ERA Market Report 2015 contains a country-by-country analysis of 14 European countries. It includes detailed market size information for the years 2012-2015 and key ratios including fleet size and investment. It also includes penetration rates against countries’ GDPs, construction outputs and populations.

A special focus in the 2015 edition is on Germany. A dedicated chapter combines quantitative and qualitative information. In the context of this specific effort to examine the equipment rental market in greater detail, estimates have been established for the breakdown of rental revenues by product, by end market, and by channel to market.

The figures in the report are based on official statistics for NACE rev. 2 code 77.32: “Renting of construction and civil engineering machinery and equipment without operator”. This is the industry standard classification system used in the European Union.

The report contains 96 pages, with statistical information and expanded details per country. Each country section contains four pages of detailed information in local currency in order to better measure trends independently from the variation of the currency exchange rate against the Euro.

The report, commissioned by ERA, is available to ERA members for €300 and to prospective and non-members for €900. For copies please contact the European Rental Association at Avenue Jules Bordet 142, 1140 Brussels, Belgium or by email to

Written by The European Rental Association (ERA)