The global escalator market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.57% through to 2015, with the industry set to be driven by the increase in need for comfortable movement, along with the development of energy efficient escalators.
Furthermore, growth will be primarily driven by construction activity, although the public transportation sector is also an important source of demand. The improvement in standards of living/lifestyle in conjunction with the rapid rise of low budget air travel suggests that airports, as well as other mass transit media, will continue to invest in efficient infrastructure. This is expected to lead to increased investment in the global escalator market.
However, the high costs of escalators decrease adoption rates and this could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individual, linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.
Escalators are used around the world to move pedestrian traffic in places where elevators would be impractical. Principal areas of usage include department stores, shopping malls, airports, transit systems, convention centres, hotels, arenas, stadiums and public buildings.
The benefits of escalators are many. They have the capacity to move large numbers of people, and they can be placed in the same physical space as one might install a staircase. They have no waiting interval (except during very heavy traffic), they can be used to guide people toward main exits or special exhibits, and they may be weatherproofed for outdoor use.
It has also been observed that a non-functioning escalator simply becomes a normal staircase, whereas many other conveyances become useless when they break down.
Schindler stands as the largest maker of escalators in the world, though their first escalator installation did not occur until 1936. In 1979, the company entered the United States market by purchasing Haughton Elevator; nine years later, Schindler assumed control of the North American escalator/elevator operations of Westinghouse.