The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation presents Equipment Finance in 2020: Special COVID-19 Impact issue, a special issue of the annual Equipment Leasing & Finance Industry Horizon Report.This new resource contains forward-looking economic and industry insights related to the U.S. economy—including near- and medium-term economic risks and emerging industry trends—--based on data provided by a wide range of equipment finance industry leaders and Keybridge, the Foundation’s economic researchers. This year, the report focuses on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.
Key findings include:
- Despite weakness in the economy’s industrial core, new business volume growth accelerated to 4.7% in 2019, the strongest annual growth since 2014. The faster growth came despite relatively weak growth in nominal equipment and software investment in 2019, which slowed to 3.5% in 2019 after 8.5% growth the previous year (which was likely boosted by tax cuts). The difference can be explained by the propensity to finance, which rose in 2019 as long-term interest rates fell sharply in the latter half of the year. Based on Foundation estimates, the industry’s size was approximately $992 billion in 2019.
- The equipment finance sector has managed to hold its own in the face of the pandemic and ensuing recession. As of August, year-to-date cumulative new business volume was down just 4% compared to 2019. However, despite the “strong on paper” rebound in the third quarter as the economy began to reopen, there remains substantial underlying weakness in the U.S. economy that will present challenges next year.
- Overall, the lending environment is expected to be favorable to equipment finance firms in 2021. Though the U.S. in 2020 will have suffered its largest annual decline in GDP since 1946, the quick bounce-back for equipment and software investment has acted as a cushion for those in the industry.
Prepared by Keybridge Research through a commissioned grant by the Foundation, this limited-edition report begins by summarizing the state of the economy heading into the pandemic. It provides key metrics, including an industry sizing estimate and the propensity to finance equipment and software acquisitions. It also examines COVID-19 and the pandemic-induced recession, with a focus on the equipment leasing and finance industry.
The report concludes with a sneak peek at 2021, suggesting that while the economy still faces substantial headwinds and heightened uncertainty, severe disruptions also bring opportunity for equipment finance as it adapts to current economic challenges.
The complete report is now available for free download. Visit www.leasefoundation.org
to access this indispensable planning resource.