Global construction equipment sales are expected to increase 16% this year, according to specialist consultant Off-Highway Research.

Worldwide sales are expected to exceed 810,000 units in 2017 with a value of more than US$80 billion (AU$102.85 billion). Most major regional equipment markets are expected to see growth this year, but the key driver will be China. Crawler excavator sales have more than doubled in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

Elsewhere in the world, the Indian market remains strong, with 10% sales growth forecast for this year, continuing the momentum of the 36% surge seen in 2016. This will see the market surpass the previous record high of 54,065 machine sales in 2011.

In Europe, sales of construction equipment in are expected to grow 2% this year to almost 145,000 units. This moderate rise follows an 11% surge in 2016, which was driven by booming demand from the German residential construction sector.

The North American market is expected to climb 8% to over 170,000 units. This would take it back to levels seen in 2014 and 2015, before market growth was disrupted by last year's presidential election.

Similarly, in Japan, a 4% increase in equipment sales is expected, following a slump in demand last year. The correction of 2016 was preceded by three years of unusually high sales in response to the government's stimulus policies - Abenomics - and the demand for equipment needed for reconstruction work following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Over the longer term, Off-Highway Research expects global construction equipment sales to rise to close to 900,000 units by 2021, with a value of more than US$90 billion in today's terms.

Off-Highway Research's world forecast is published its Global Volume & Value Service. Click here for more details. A full analysis of Off-Highway Research's latest forecast will be available in the September issue of International ConstructionClick here to arrange a free subscription.