Optimism was high at The Rental Show in New Orleans, with the largest floor the show has had in two decades and the best attendance since before the recession.
All signs point up for a positive forecast for steady growth in equipment rental revenue, and that was reflected on a busy trade show floor during the show, held February 18-21, according to the American Rental Association (ARA).
The total number of attendees was 6,047, with 2,657 rental businesses represented. When combined with exhibitor personnel, total attendance for 2018 was 12,066.
This marks the first time since 2006 that total attendance has topped 12,000. That same year marked the American Rental Association’s (ARA’s) 50th anniversary celebration in Orlando, Fla.
“There is a tone of optimism in the industry,” says CEO Tony Conant of ARA. “Everybody I spoke to in the construction segment said the show was as good or better than last year, and it was the largest show floor in 20 years. Many said it was one of the best shows they’ve been to.”
ARA had the opportunity to expand the trade show floor for 2018, adding Hall D, and exhibit space sold out for the sixth straight year. The additional space made 2018 the largest contiguous show floor since 1998 in Orlando, ARA says.
As for the positive industry outlook, the latest ARA Rental Market Monitor forecast was released on February 19 at the show. It predicts that equipment rental revenue in the U.S. will reach $51.5 billion this year– and continue growing to $59.6 billion in 2021.
In that survey, conducted last number with 312 construction industry executives responding, distributors and rental companies indicated that their rental fleets will increase in 2018 over 2017, with 55 percent indicating their intention to expand. Notably, only 7 percent say they will decrease the size of their fleets.
While some contractors feel their fleet sizes are in balance and at a good equilibrium, those who choose to increase their fleet sizes indicate a willingness to supplement with rentals, Wells Fargo Finance Equipment officials say.
More distributors plan to increase the size of their rental fleets over 2017, and these same distributors are renting to contractors more than the prior year, the survey found.
Looking ahead, 2019 will be a return to the west for the first time in six years and to Anaheim, California, for the first time in 16 years. The city has hosted the ARA annual convention seven times previously, between 1973 and 2003.
The Rental Show 2019 will be held February 17-20 at the Anaheim Convention Center.