Canadian Rental Service

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ARA projections for Canadian rental industry show 15 and 28 percent decline


November 16, 2020
By Patrick Flannery


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In Canada, total rental revenue for 2020 is expected to come in at nearly $4.7 billion, down 15.2% compared with last year, before growing 7.3% in 2021, 8.3% in 2022 and 6.8% in 2023 to $5.83 billion, exceeding the industry 2019 peak of $5.54 billion. The party and event segment in Canada is expected to have the largest drop in revenue in 2020, down 28.5% to $172 million but is forecast to bounce back in 2021 with 23.7% revenue growth and then surpass its peak 2019 revenue by 2023. Construction and industrial rental revenue in Canada is expected to show a decrease of 15% in 2020 to $3.768 billion but then grow 7% in 2021, 9.1% in 2022 and 7.4% in 2023. General tool rental revenue in Canada is forecast to decline by 12.76% in 2020, with revenue expected to show an increase of 5.1% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022.

The American Rental Association is forecasting a 13% decline in equipment and event rental revenue this year compared with 2019, making for a drop to $48.7 billion in the United States.

However, the latest forecast released by the association calls for modest overall growth in 2021, ticking up 0.3% to $48.9 billion before accelerating recovery kicks in with growth of 9.2% in 2022, 6.8% in 2023 and 4.8% in 2024 to reach $59.7 billion.

The party and event segment is forecast to show the largest drop in 2020 revenue, down 38.9% to $2.2 billion. After so many rental stores saw business virtually disappear in the spring and early summer of 2020, the results set the stage for what will look like very favorable comparisons in 2021.

For example, the ARA forecast calls for party and event rental revenue to grow by 36.4% in 2021 to reach $3 billion, but this recovery falls far short of making up for the 2020 decline. The segment, according to the forecast, is not expected to reach peak 2019 revenue levels again until 2024.

Construction and industrial rental revenue also is forecast to finish 2020 with a significant hit in revenue, dropping 13.3% to $33.8 billion, with a 3.3% decline forecasted for 2021 before double-digit growth of 11.2% comes in 2022.

The general tool segment weathered the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the best and is expected to finish 2020 down 5.2% to $12.7 billion and to top its 2019 revenue peak by 2022.

“The forecast shows us how hard the coronavirus pandemic hit the equipment and event rental industry,” John McClelland, vice president for government affairs and chief economist for the ARA, said. “Hopefully 2021 will see us getting back some of the revenue losses we experienced in the equipment and general tool segments. However, the event segment continues to have a steep hill to climb and we will be working hard to bring more relief to that segment through government stimulus programs.”

Investment in equipment is significantly down in 2020, with a 43% decrease to $8.166 billion. Equipment spending is forecast to rebound by 17.4% in 2021 and by 46.3% in 2022 to surpass annual investment of $14 billion.