Industry Insights

Buying intention
survey results
and more

To gain valuable insight into how outdoor power equipment dealers and their commercial customers plan to spend their money in the coming year, Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) and its sister publication Landscape and Irrigation (L&I) recently asked their respective readers for feedback. The results of the OPE and L&I surveys, as well as other industry insights, are as follows:

OPE Buying Intention Survey

Do you carry a line exclusively?
Yes      38.5%
No       61.5%

Will you be adding or switching lines in the next year?
Yes      20%
No       80%

Which of the following lines does your dealership currently carry?
Aerators (turf)             29.2%
Backhoes & Excavators          6.2%
Blowers           66.2%
Brushcutters    61.5%
Chain Saws     76.9%
Chippers/Shredders                 41.5%
Dethatchers     30.8%
Edgers             55.4%
Generators       49.2%
Loaders           10.8%
Log Splitters   38.5%
Manual Hand Tools    32.3%
Mower Attachments & Accessories   58.5%
Mowers (riding)          76.9%
Mowers (stand-on)      36.9%
Mowers (walk-behind)            76.9%
Oils, Lubricants & Fuel Additives      81.5%
Pressure Washers        43.1%
Pumps             26.2%
Right-of-way Maintenance Equipment          6.2%
Recreational & Utility Vehicles          16.9%
Seeders            23.1%
Snow Removal Equipment     44.6%
Sprayers          47.7%
Spreaders        40%
Stump Cutters 13.8%
Sweepers         27.7%
Tillers              63.1%
Topdressers     3.1%
Tractors           24.6%
Trenchers         3.1%
Trimmers (hedge)        66.2%
Trimmers (string/grass)            72.3%
Vacuums (leaf and litter)        55.4%

What equipment lines do you plan on adding in the next year? (Check all that apply)
Aerators (turf)             0%
Backhoes & Excavators          0%
Blowers           6.3%
Brushcutters    6.3%
Chain Saws     12.5%
Chippers/Shredders                 6.3%
Dethatchers     0%
Edgers             6.3%
Generators       6.3%
Loaders           6.3%
Log Splitters   6.3%
Manual Hand Tools    0%
Mower Attachments & Accessories   0%
Mowers (riding)          25%
Mowers (stand-on)      31.3%
Mowers (walk-behind)            12.5%
Oils, Lubricants & Fuel Additives      12.5%
Pressure Washers        18.8%
Pumps             0%
Right-of-way Maintenance Equipment          6.3%
Recreational & Utility Vehicles          18.8%
Seeders            6.3%
Snow Removal Equipment     6.3%
Sprayers          6.3%
Spreaders        0%
Stump Cutters 6.3%
Sweepers         6.3%
Tillers              6.3%
Topdressers     0%
Tractors           6.3%
Trenchers         6.3%
Trimmers (hedge)        6.3%
Trimmers (string/grass)            6.3%
Vacuums (leaf and litter)        6.3%

What factors influence your decision on what lines you stock? (Check all that apply)
Brand Loyalty             47.7%
Product Quality          76.9%
Price or Sales Incentives         40%
Profit Margin              76.9%
Other   6.2%

L&I Buying Intention Survey

For some insight into how landscape and irrigation professionals plan to spend their money in the coming year, and the factors that influence those buying decisions, Landscape and Irrigation (L&I) recently asked its readers for feedback. The survey results are as follows:

What turf maintenance equipment do you plan to purchase in the next year? (Check all that apply)
Blowers           62%
Chain Saws     60%
Trimmers (string)         56%
Mowers (walk-behind)            43%
Trimmers (hedge)        43%
Mowers (riding)          40%
Spreaders        30%
Edgers 27%
Snow Removal Equipment     24%
Spray Equipment        22%
Mowers (stand-on)      21%
Aerators (turf) 16%
Utility Vehicles           16%
Tillers  16%
Brush Cutters  11%
Chippers/Shreddders  11%
Sweepers         11%
Vacuums (leaf and litter)        10%
Dethatchers     8%
Curb and Border Machines     6%

What landscape construction do you plan to purchase in the next year? (Check all that apply)
Trenchers         39%
Grading Equipment    31%
Loaders           28%
Excavators      17%
Stump Grinders           17%
Backhoes         14%
Sod Cutters     11%
Air Excavation Equipment     8%
Augers 6%

What irrigation equipment do you plan to purchase in the next year? (Check all that apply)
Sprinklers (pop ups)    90%
Sprinkler Accessories  79%
Valves 79%
Pipes and Fittings       78%
Sprinklers (risers)        76%
Controllers      60%
Drip Systems   60%
Backflow Prevention  54%
Pumps 52%
Drainage Equipment   38%
Filtration Systems       31%
Central Control Systems         29%
Moisture Sensors         28%
Weather Stations         31%
Flow Meters    21%

What landscape supplies and materials do you plan to purchase in the next year? (Check all that apply)
Gravel, Rocks and Stone        80%
Mulch  79%
Perennials        68%
Shrubs 68%
Landscape Fabric        68%
Seed    66%
Soil      63%
Trees    62%
Hardscape Materials (bricks and pavers)        61%
Annuals           59%
Sod      55%
Compost          51%
Edging            51%
Stakes (plant and tree)            51%
Plant Containers          32%
Root Barriers   23%
Aquatic Plants 20%
Tree Guards    20%

What factors influence the brand of equipment purchases? (Check all that apply)
Prior Experience with Brand  74%
Quality                        70%
Price    51%
Recommendation of Others    37%

How much do you plan to spend on equipment and supplies during the next year?
Under $10,000                        16%
$10,000 – $24,999       20%
$25,000 – $49,999       21%
$50,000 – $99,999       14%
$100,000 – $249,999   21%
$250,000 – $500,000   4%
More than $500,000    5%


* The biggest thing that jumps out is that the percentage of respondents planning to purchase various types of equipment, in each category, during the next year has risen across the board from L&I’s survey results of the past 3 years. This suggests that respondents are ready to spend more on equipment in the coming year than they have the past three years.

* In terms of landscape and turf maintenance equipment, handheld equipment such as blowers and string trimmers remains at the top of the list, which is consistent with L&I’s survey results from 2011, 2012 and 2013. However, the order changed this year as string trimmers, which have been at the top for the past three years, fell to third behind blowers and chain saws.

* A big riser this year is chain saws, with 60% of respondents indicating that they intend to buy a chain saw in the next year (compared to 16% in 2013, 18% in 2012 and 32% in 2011).

* Other big risers include: trenchers, up to 39% in 2014 (from only 6% in 2013); commercial walk-behind mowers at 43% (compared to 20% in 2013, 28% in 2012 and 28% in 2011); blowers, which increased from 46% in 2013 to 62% in 2014; and snow removal equipment, which is up to 24% of respondents planning to buy (compared with 12% in both 2013 and 2012).

* Those indicating that they plan to buy a loader in the coming year also increased from less than 7% each of the past three years to 28% on the latest survey.

* Irrigation seems to be at the forefront of respondents’ buying intentions as 90% of respondents intend to buy sprinklers (pop-ups) in the coming year, and more than 70% intend to purchase irrigation system components, such as pipe, valves fittings and other accessories.

* Familiarity with a brand, and overall quality of the product continue to trump price in terms of factors that influence the buying decision.

State of the Green Industry

During Irrigation Show 2014, Michael V. Geary, CAE, president and CEO of AmericanHort, presented a session on the “State of the Green Industry.” (AmericanHort, formed in 2014, is a consolidation of the American Nursery & Landscape Association and OFA — The Association of Horticultural Professionals.) Geary provided insight into the industry from all levels of the market chain — from plant breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden retailers, students, educators, manufacturers, landscape professionals and more.

“We lost a lot of business during the recession,” Geary said. But he added that confidence is high among growers and statistics are pointing to positive trends for the Green Industry. For example, employment is on the rise (see Figure 1), housing starts are increasing (see Figure 2), and sales of existing homes are rising (see Figure 3).

1503_OPE_CS_Industry Insights5_Figure 1-web

Figure 1
1503_OPE_CS_Industry Insights6_Figure 2-web

Figure 2
1503_OPE_CS_Industry Insights7_Figure 3-web
Figure 3

Other positive trends that Geary pointed to included a rise in the sale of perennials, annuals, edibles and trees/shrubs — which each increased in sales, as reported by garden centers, by more than 58 percent from spring of 2013 to spring of 2014, according to Nursery Management Magazine. Greenhouse production also increased during 2014.

According to Geary, 72 percent of garden centers reported that overall sales increased in 2014, as compared to 2013, and landscape contractors reported a profitable market.

The horticulture industry’s production, wholesale, retail and landscape service components have annual sales of $163 billion, and sustain more than 1.15 million full- and part-time jobs, said Geary.

According to Geary, a recent study shows that U.S. demand for outdoor products is expected to increase 4 percent in 2015 to almost $7 billion; plants will play a key role; people are looking for quick, easy solutions that they can personalize; and people are increasingly taking to the outdoors for cooking, dining and entertaining.

The Garden Media Group Garden Trends Report showed that 85 percent of Millennials rated outdoor rooms as “very important” or “important,” compared to 83 percent of Gen Xers and 74 percent of Baby Boomers.

According to Geary, big issues for the Green Industry in 2015 and beyond will include immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, pollinator health, tax reform, new technologies, and, of course, water.

“Without water, none of this happens,” said Geary.

Information provided by Michael V. Geary and AmericanHort. With a combined 220-plus years of experience with the whole plant and horticulture services industry, AmericanHort was formed by the ANLA and OFA members to unify the industry, improve collaboration, increase organizational efficiencies, and expand the support for the industry’s businesses. With that goal in mind, AmericanHort represents the entire horticulture industry, including breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscapers, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry market chain. For more information, visit


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