For the first time in five years, U.S. shipments of walk-behind mower shipments will fall below 6 million units, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). According to the Association, shipments will decrease 5.7% in Model Year 2007 (September 2006-August 2007). The decrease is estimated to be larger than OPEI's July 2007 forecast of a decrease of 4.1%. The estimated decrease in front engine lawn tractors (12.9%) and riding garden tractors (44.9%) is also projected to be deeper than earlier forecasts (decrease of 7.5% and 12.9%, respectively).
Total rider shipments in MY 2007 will collapse 11.6% to 1,538,667 units. In most cases, OPEI says that an increase in shipments will now not occur until the end of MY 2008 (August 2008) or beginning of MY 2009 (September 2008).
The negative trend that started in MY 2005 for intermediate commercial turf walker shipments will continue through MY 2007 with a forecast decrease of 9.6% in shipments, OPEI says. Minimal growth of 1.8% is forecast for MY 2008 for the intermediate commercial walker. During MY 2007, shipments for commercial riders are predicted to fall well below 200,000 units. OPEI says that commercial riding mower shipments will contract 1.9% to 176,793 units for MY 2008.