Construction Equipment's exclusive industry research has for years shed new light on the equipment industry and has sustained our effort to be the No. 1 equipment magazine for all vocations: general contracting to mining. Our Annual Report & Forecast has kept tabs on the economic fortunes of equipment-owning fleets for nearly 20 years. Our crown jewel, though, is so encompassing in scope and data that we only do it every four years.
That report, of course, is the Universe of Construction Equipment and Machinery, which we started in 1987. It's time for an update, and we ask for your help as we survey the equipment-using universe. Your input, as an equipment professional, will enable us to provide the most accurate and comprehensive data in the industry.
When last published in 1999, the Universe Study put hard numbers to trends that were beginning to alter the industry. We, through the able management of the MacKay Co., were able to provide a census for 19 equipment categories, including earthmoving, lifting and paving.
In 1999, the average age of backhoe-loaders in our universe was 5.7 years, down from 6.2 in 1995. The number of backhoe-loaders, though, increased by 11 percent from the previous Universe Study done in 1995. How has that trend played out through 2003? We'll show you the numbers.
Skid-steer-loader counts also increased from 1995 to 1999. The number of equipment-owning firms that used at least one skid-steer increased by 25 percent. It didn't matter whether the machine was acquired through purchase, lease or rental; fleets were finding that the skid-steer could accomplish tasks in ways that weren't employed in 1995. Recently, the advent of larger models has increased the skid-steer's value to the equipment user. We'll show you the numbers on those larger machines, a new range in the 2003 Universe Study.
Even more telling in 1999 was the increase in the use of lease and rental to acquire machines. In these two particular machine categories, the trend toward leasing and rental boosted the census. These acquisition options accounted for 93 percent of the increase in the number of skid-steers in the Universe, for example.
Bear in mind, the period of 1995 to 1999 included four extremely busy and successful years. We won't have the same dynamics in the period leading up to the present. But we'll show you the numbers, if you'll help us find them.