The forecast for shipments for commercial turf and consumer wheeled (e.g., walk-behind and riding mowers) and hand-held (e.g., leaf blowers, chain saws, trimmers) products continues to be soft through most of 2008, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), in its January 2008 forecast for shipments of commercial turf and consumer wheeled products and hand-held products.
OPEI says this is a result of continued concerns about the U.S. economy, specifically the housing market, and past drought conditions. "The anticipated stimulus package and further movement by the Federal Reserve may serve to strengthen the US economy and alter the current forecast," OPEI says. "The OPE industry has also been bolstered by the heavy snows in many parts of the U.S. which is forecast to help alleviate drought conditions in some places. A warm spring with adequate rain, especially in the drought-stricken southeast, would result in an increase in shipments of outdoor power equipment."
Commercial turf and consumer product shipment forecasts are based on a September-August Model Year (MY). For MY 2008 (September 2007-August 2008), OPEI estimates that almost all commercial turf and consumer products will experience a decline in shipments except shipments of commercial riding mowers, which are estimated to remain flat. Consumer zero turn rider shipments are forecast to recover with an estimated 3.5% increase in shipments during MY 2009.
Hand-held shipment forecasts are based on the calendar year (CY). During CY 2008 (January –December 2008), shipments of hand-held blowers and chainsaws will continue to experience a decrease in shipments, OPEI says, but at a smaller rate than during CY 2007. Shipments of backpack blowers and trimmers are predicted to decrease during CY2008 but the decrease will be less than CY2006.