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issue: December 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Outdoor Appliances
Professional Power


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by Erin Biesen, Assistant Editor

The 2005 International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Exposition was filled with cutting edge technology updating previous products and showcasing new ones, all with professional power and design.

In a world where time is money, product managers and engineers are working on designs to help professional landscapers be more efficient. Increasing power and performance are two important issues for the commercial industry. Many products are being created for those consumers that have larger yards and acres of land. These products also have the look and quality of the professional equipment used in the landscaping industry.

In the Midwest it is not uncommon to find people looking for professional power equipment, says John Dorrance, product manager for Hedge Trimmers at Shindaiwa, Inc. They have bigger yards and can use that extra power.The company refers to these users as pro-sumers.

Jack Drobny, product manager for Cub Cadet, notes that the new utility vehicles offered by the company are for the consumer market. The residential homeowner wants to beautify his yard, move mulch and take it for a Sunday drive,? he says. The commercial user wants to use it hard during the week to make money, and take it out to play on the weekends.

Looking Ahead

According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), hand-held products are forecast to experience moderate growth for 2005 with shipments reaching 12.2 million units. The only hand-held products that will not experience growth are hand-held blowers.

All consumer outdoor power equipment products for the 2005 model year (MY) will fall 0.7 percent from 2004. Shipments for MY 2006 are forecast to fall 2 percent from MY 2005. However, OPEI's economic forecast predicts positive shipment growth for all consumer products during MY 2007.

According to the organization, the issues affecting the slow growth are the high federal budget deficit, continued record oil prices and an expected slowdown in the new and existing home markets.

Reducing the amount of time it takes to do yard work requires more power. The industry is responding to this with four-cycle engines and other innovations that are quiet and do not pollute the air.

Despite setbacks such as these in the market, the industry will continue to grow and innovate to appeal to professional and residential consumers alike.

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