Last month, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) released its December 2020 forecast, which showed record growth across the industry despite the pandemic and downward market pressures. The group also says it predicts continued positive activity going 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 added, “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.”
Overall, OPEI says the industry saw shipments of outdoor power equipment increase by more than 5 million units – up 16 percent from last year – and those levels are expected to remain elevated in 2021.
OPEI says 2020 saw the expansion of both battery/electric equipment and gas, with all-electric and battery-powered segments tracked by the group posting double-digit growth.
“The industry continues to expand its power offerings for commercial contractors and homeowners,” says Kiser. “Whether it’s gasoline, propane or battery/electric power, OPE manufacturers have the equipment and the power source to get the job done.”
OPEI also reports that consumer lawn mower shipments grew more than 15 percent in 2020, with 7.7 million units shipped. Commercial lawn mower shipments were down about 5 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, with more than 308,000 shipped, but are expected to grow by more than 5 percent in 2021.
Lastly, OPEI says handheld power equipment shipments grew by more than 17 percent 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,” says Kiser. “They’ve been saving and will likely be in a strong cash position in the spring. Manufacturers expect significant commercial investment in spring of 2021, and we expect this sector to grow by more than 5 percent (in 2021).”
OPEI says it uses the compiled monthly shipment data reported by OPEI members as the basis for its forecasted projections, constituting more than 90 percent of all shipments in the U.S. market.
OPEI says its projections reflect shipments of products to include all power sources (e.g., gas, battery, corded (AC), diesel, propane).