The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, or OPEI, released its forecast last month, showing growth across the industry despite an ongoing pandemic and downward market pressures, and predicting continued positive activity into 2021. The past year saw expansion of both gas and battery/electric equipment, with all electric and battery powered segments tracked by OPEI posting double-digit growth.
“We expect demand for outdoor power equipment to remain strong into 2021 as homeowners expand their connection to their living landscape and invest in the maintenance of their outdoor spaces. Consumer demand remains high, and inventories at outdoor power equipment dealers remain tight,” commented Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI.
Overall, the industry saw shipments of outdoor power equipment increase by more than 5 million units – a jump of 16% from last year – and those levels are expected to remain elevated in 2021. An increase in consumer sales offset a slight decline in the commercial segment.
- Consumer lawn mower shipments grew more than 15% in 2020, with 7.7 million units shipped.
- While commercial lawn mower shipments were down about 5% in 2020 compared to 2019 (with more than 308,000 shipped), they 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 said. “Manufacturers expect significant commercial investment in spring of 2021, and we expect this sector to grow by more than 5% next year.”
OPEI is an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, battery power systems, portable generators, utility vehicle, golf car, and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI’s forecasted projections use as their basis the compiled monthly shipment data reported by OPEI members, constituting more than 90% of all shipments in the U.S. market. OPEI projections reflect shipments of products to include all power sources (e.g., gas, battery, corded (AC), diesel, propane).
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