Dec. 21 2020 07:36 AM

Market adds 5 million units this year, manufacturers expect positive 2021.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Alexandria, Virginia, released its December forecast, showing record growth across the industry despite an ongoing pandemic and downward market pressures, predicting continued positive activity into 2021.

“We’ve seen very real, significant positive market dynamics across many of the segments we track,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “While this year has been very challenging, the industry has stepped up to continue making and shipping necessary equipment, helping many Americans get outside and work in and reconnect with their living landscapes.”

Kiser expects demand for outdoor power equipment to remain strong into 2021 as people continue to invest in the maintenance of their outdoor spaces.

“Consumer demand remains high and inventories at outdoor power equipment dealers remain tight,” he says.

Overall, the industry saw shipments of outdoor power equipment increase by more than 5 million units, a jump of 16% from last year. Those levels are expected to remain elevated in 2021.

This year has seen expansion of both gas and battery/electric equipment, with all electric and battery powered segments tracked by OPEI posting double-digit growth. “The industry continues to expand its power offerings for commercial contractors and homeowners,” Kiser says. “Whether its gasoline, propane, or battery/electric power, OPE manufacturers have the equipment and the power source to get the job done.”

Notes from the past year include:

  • Consumer lawn mower shipments grew more than 15% in 2020, with 7.7 million units shipped.
  • Commercial lawn mower shipments are down about 5% in 2020 compared to 2019, with more than 308,000 shipped, but are expected to grow by more than 5% in 2021.
  • Handheld power equipment shipments grew by more than 17% in 2020, with 29.3 million units shipped.

“Commercial products are down a bit this year, as professional landscape contractors have been conservative during this period of uncertainty. They’ve been saving and will likely be in a strong cash position in the spring,” Kiser says. “Manufacturers expect significant commercial investment in spring of 2021, and we expect this sector to grow by more than 5 percent next year.”

OPEI forecasted projections use as their basis the compiled monthly shipment data reported by OPEI members, constituting more than 90 percent of all shipments in the U.S. market. OPEI projections reflect shipments of products to include all power sources.

Historically, OPEI has had a strong commitment to data collection and publication for the benefit of its member companies. OPEI started collecting shipment data for lawn mowers in 1953 and has expanded its program over the successive decades to reflect the product innovation and growth in the U.S. market. OPEI industry data is collected, compiled, and forecasted by contracted third parties, and is accessible by only member companies. All OPEI members that ship the subject products in the U.S. are eligible to participate in this critical program, assuring that OPEI data in most cases constitutes near full market representation. Additionally, all OPEI forecasts are developed through a third-party working in consultation with OPEI member manufacturers.