EQUIPMENT FORECAST

As the economy continues to show moderate growth, so do the predictions for the equipment market shipments. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI's) Econometric Forecast for hand-held products predicts that shipments of hand-held gasoline powered trimmers and chain saws will post moderate gains during 2005, while those for blowers are forecast to slide.

For 2005, a 2.2 percent increase over 2004 is expected for the gasoline powered hand-held products included in OPEI's forecast — hand-held blowers, backpack blowers, trimmers and chain saws. The following year, growth will slow to 0.7 percent over 2005, with total shipments for 2006 totaling just under 12.5 million units for these products.

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The products forecast to experience shipments declines for 2005 and 2006 are both types of gasoline blowers, hand-held and backpack. For 2006, the OPEI model predicts some growth for trimmers and chain saws, but less than 2 percent for the year.

Shipments of commercial riders are forecast to grow by 10.8 percent for 2005 Model Year, and expand by 14.6 percent the following year. Commercial turf care intermediate walk-behind units, on the other hand, will experience a level 2005 with a modest 0.9 decline, but will snap back in 2006 with a 2.4 percent increase.

The expected decrease in growth for gasoline powered hand-held equipment reflects some of the obstacles the national economy is currently facing. These include $50 plus for a barrel of oil; Fed pressure on interest rates; and an expected slow down in the new and existing home markets over the next 18 months.

EQUIPMENT FORECAST
2005 2006
Gasoline powered hand-held products 2.2 percent increase 0.7 percent increase
Commercial riding mowers 10.8 percent increase 14.6 percent increase
Walk-behind units 0.9 percent increase 2.4 percent increase
Source: The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

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