The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) Economic Forecast predicts that significant growth for the product segment will have to wait until Model Year (MY) 2006. The 2005 MY forecast for consumer product shipments will be about even with 2004 MY results -- averaging small growth in all consumer products combined.
The OPEI's Econometric Model forecasts a 2.1 percent increase in consumer walk-behind powered mower shipments for the 2005 MY (September 2004 - August 2005). For the same period, shipments of consumer riders are forecast to decrease .3 percent, while tillers are predicted to improve by 2.9 percent. The slow increase is attributed to the U.S. budget deficit, increased oil prices, higher interest rates, and an expected slow down in the new and existing home markets.
OPEI says consumer demand will increase by the end of 2005 and continue in 2006. With significant growth expected in disposable income during 2006, walk-behind shipments growth is forecast to be 5.1 percent during the 2006 MY, and consumer riders are expected to increase by 6.7 percent, OPEI said.
Commercial turf care intermediate walk-behind units are forecast to increase by 2.9 percent for the 2005 MY, and then accelerate in 2006 with a 6.5 percent increase. Shipments of commercial riders are predicted to outperform the overall industry and grow by 13.0 percent for 2005 MY, and expand by another 19.7 percent the following year.
In addition, OPEI said shipments of hand-held gasoline powered trimmers, chain saws, and hand-held blowers are forecast to post moderate gains during 2005 and 2006. Backpack blower shipments are forecast to decline slightly over the next couple of years, following strong growth from 2002-2004.
For 2005, a 1.8 percent increase over 2004 is expected for all forecasted gasoline powered hand-held products combined -- hand-held blowers, back-pack blowers, trimmers, and chain saws. In 2006, growth will increase to 2.4 percent, with shipments totaling about 12.2 million units. Gasoline powered back-pack blowers will be the only product to experience shipments declines for 2005 and 2006, OPEI said.
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