The Effect of Amazon on Outdoor Power Equipment Sales

Increasingly, manufacturers of lawn and garden products are finding success on Amazon – even for products traditionally dominated by brick-and-mortar retailers. With an estimated $2 billion in U.S. sales, Amazon’s share of the lawn and garden market is significant, and growing.

One Click Retail (OCR) recently published a report by Nathan Rigby, VP sales and marketing at OCR, titled “Lawn & Garden: The Amazon Effect.” Findings from the report reveal that the major lawn and garden category – with nearly a quarter of total product group sales – is “Gardening.” At an estimated worth of $430M in 2017, it is the largest category by a wide margin, and, with 25% YoY growth, it is likely to stay that way. And although the “Gardening” category leads the way, “Outdoor Power Tools/Equipment” came in second with an estimated worth of $320M in 2017, and is growing at a faster rate than any other category in the top five with 29% YoY growth.

According to OCR, pressure washers are the biggest driver in the “Outdoor Power Tools/Equipment” category with a 35% YoY increase in sales during 2017 (accounting for 20% of the $320M in sales in the “Outdoor Power Tools/Equipment” category). Pressure washers also accounted for three of the top 10 items in the “Lawn & Garden” category.

The emerging category of 2017 was portable generators, which nearly doubled in size to earn an estimated $30M in sales. The success of portable generators in 2017 is consistent with consumers trends toward both outdoor living and DIY – two trends that have had a major effect on the lawn and garden market.

For additional insight into the report, Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) recently interviewed Ojastro Todd, marketing analyst at OCR.


OPE: Can you tell us a little bit about the methodology for the “Lawn & Garden” report?


Todd:Using a combination of website indexing, machine learning and proprietary software, OCR estimates weekly online sales figures for products on Amazon and categorizes them using a customized hierarchy. For this report, we then identified top-selling and top-growing categories in lawn and garden, and identified and reported on relevant trends within those categories.


OPE: You mention that online sales of outdoor power tools/equipment is growing, and that pressure washers are extremely popular online purchases. Why do you think this segment has seen so much growth in terms of online sales?


Todd: Pressure washers, mowers, and blowers are all appealing because they are convenient and timesaving appliances. The same desire to save time that drives consumers to shop online may also be determining what purchases they make.


OPE: A big concern for our readers is the online sale – most notably through Amazon – of replacement parts for outdoor power equipment. Do you track sales of these items via Amazon, and, if so, what can you tell us about growth in that area?


Todd: Outdoor power equipment replacement parts are performing very well on Amazon, with about $70M in 2017 1P sales and 38% YoY growth.


OPE: According to your report, portable generators are “the emerging category of 2017.” What do you think makes generators such a rising product category in terms of online sales?


Todd: There could be any number of factors creating this growth, but I will highlight two:

  1. The rising popularity of portable inverter generators. Inverter generators have been improving lately, resulting in safer, quieter, and more environmentally friendly models, which have been drawing in consumers.
  2. Our increased reliance on electricity and attachment to electrical devices. This is pretty self-explanatory. Consumers want to go camping or to do other outdoor activities without leaving their electronics behind, so they purchase portable generators.


OPE: You also created a European version of the report. What insight or comparisons can you provide regarding the European lawn and garden market versus the North American lawn and garden market?


Todd: An underlying factor in the differences in U.S. and European lawn and garden sales is the impact of population density. The U.S. has a much lower population density than any of the European countries that were discussed, so Americans are able to have much larger lawn and garden spaces, on average, than Europeans.

As a result, the U.S. sees much higher sales in outdoor power tools, sprinkler systems, and large lawnmowers – all of which are most valuable to owners of larger outdoor spaces. By comparison, Europeans are buying smaller outdoor grills, weather stations (which require very little space), and outdoor storage units (to maximize space).

This difference in available space can be observed in the top categories by country, but is also visible in top items by category. For example, the top outdoor furniture item in the U.S. is a chaise lounge, which takes up a lot more space than the top outdoor furniture item in Germany: a foldable chair.


OPE: You mention in the report that, “Millennials keep earning more money, buying homes, and using the Internet to purchase just about anything.” What advice do you have for our readers about reaching Millennials, competing with Amazon, and being able to market to this all-important demographic?


Todd: For brands working to reach Millennials, our message is to get online and start investing in Amazon and other online retailers. No matter how stable your brick-and-mortar sales are, the future is online, and that’s where you have to go for growth.

For both brands and retailers, make it easy for buyers to research your items. A first-time homebuyer searching for patio furniture is going to open your product page with a few questions in mind. If they don’t find the answer they want after a few seconds of skimming your page, they’ll move on to another product/retailer. For brick-and-mortar retailers just getting online, this extends to mobile as well. Millennials are doing more and more of their shopping on mobile, and the best website ever won’t reach them unless it fits on their smaller screens.


OPE: What is your biggest takeaway from the findings?


Todd: As the Internet-native generation enters homeownership in growing numbers, these new homeowners are going online to buy the items they need as they begin that home life. As a result, related markets such as lawn and garden are seeing a rapid shift in sales away from brick-and-mortar and toward online markets such as Amazon.


One Click Retail (OCR) is a source of sales data for the world’s top e-commerce marketplaces. Using a combination of website indexing, machine learning and proprietary software, OCR estimates weekly online sales figures with market leading accuracy in order to deliver the best insights, analytics and strategies to their brand manufacturer clients. To catch a glimpse of how OCR gives brands a critical edge on online platforms with its data and expertise, subscribe to OCR’s weekly e-commerce insights blog, and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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