Outpacing inflation
By Wayne Walley

Outpacing inflation

ARA forecast calls for double-digit revenue growth for equipment rental in 2022

Even with supply chain issues and labor shortages, U.S. equipment rental revenue, including both construction and general tool, is expected to grow by 11.1 percent to reach nearly $56 billion in 2022, according to the latest quarterly forecast released by the American Rental Association (ARA) in mid-April.

Construction equipment rental is leading the way, with 13 percent growth this year to total $41.7 billion in revenue following a 10.2 percent increase in 2021. General tool in 2022 is expected to grow 7 percent to reach $14.1 billion.

While equipment rental revenue growth slows to 6 percent in 2023, 2.9 percent in 2024, 3.6 percent in 2025 and 3.9 percent in 2026, the industry is expected to surpass $60 billion in 2024 and is forecast to reach $65.5 billion in 2026.

“One thing we know is that rental revenues grow when the fleet expands or when rates increase,” says John McClelland, Ph.D., ARA vice president for government affairs and chief economist.

“In reality, both things are happening today. However, supply chain issues are inhibiting fleet growth while inflation is pushing rates higher. In the past we saw a lot of revenue growth that we attributed to fleet growth. Now we are seeing revenue growth that is being driven by higher rates,” McClelland says.

S&P Global Market Intelligence, formerly IHS Markit, the forecasting firm that compiles data for the ARA forecast and the ARA Rentalytics™ subscription service, also revised the previous estimate for 2021 equipment rental revenue from $47.9 billion up to $50.2 billion in the latest quarterly update.

The revision did not have much of an impact on the industry’s growth rates expected for 2022 and beyond but reflect a larger total than in previous forecasts.

U.S. Rental Revenue
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, formerly IHS Markit

Scott Hazelton, director, S&P Global Market Intelligence, says that while the forecast drivers behaved pretty much as expected throughout the year, inflation and rental rates took off more than expected in the second half of 2021 with the fourth quarter coming in stronger, necessitating the increase in the revenue estimate for last year.

“The strong, double-digit growth outlook for 2022 is a function of stable underlying demand compounded by inflationary pressures that will allow, indeed require, rate increases,” Hazelton says.

“The underlying construction market will be relatively soft with both residential and nonresidential structural spending under pressure, although we will begin to see the nascent impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. However, we don’t expect any retrenchment in construction, while the manufacturing, and especially energy, sectors will offer improvement,” he says.

“Meanwhile, price pressures are rippling through the economy, impacting producer prices in some cases even more than the better published consumer price indexes. Supply chain constraints are endemic throughout manufacturing, including construction and materials handling equipment. The result is shipment delays and a scarcity of equipment. Rental companies are more likely to be able to provide equipment more quickly than any dealership, which gives them pricing power,” he says, adding that Federal Reserve intervention with interest rate hikes and an improving supply chain will eventually provide relief from price escalation, but probably not until 2023.

Canadian Rental Revenue
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, formerly IHS Markit

The revenue forecast for Canada is similar to the U.S. with 9.6 percent growth in 2022 to reach $4.5 billion followed by increases of 6.4 percent in 2023, 3.8 percent in 2024, 2.1 percent in 2025 and 1.8 percent in 2026 to $5.2 billion.

Click here to learn more about the rental-specific economic data provided by ARA Rentalytics.

ARA also recently conducted a survey of contractors to find what they are looking for in a rental store. Read the full results here.

Wayne Walley

Wayne WalleyWayne Walley

Wayne Walley is the publisher of Rental Management. In his career, he has profiled hundreds of celebrities and business leaders. Outside of work, he is an avid long-time collector of breweriana and pop culture items that he sells through his wife’s retail gift shop in LeClaire, Iowa.

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