As the mowing season starts to wind down, you may be auditing your mowing equipment as well as other maintenance equipment that you use to perform your jobs to see what needs to be repaired and what needs to be replaced. Most of your competition will be doing the same thing as we look to the equipment shipment forecasts for the next year. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Economic Forecast predicts a significant growth of lawn care equipment for Model Year 2006. The 2005 Model Year forecast for consumer product shipments will be about even with the 2004 Model Year results — averaging small growth in all consumer products combined.

With significant growth expected in disposable income during 2006, walk-behind shipments growth is forecast to be 5.1 percent during the 2006 Model Year, and consumer riders are expected to increase by 6.7 percent.

Commercial turf care intermediate walk-behind units are forecast to increase by 2.9 percent for the 2005 Model Year, and then accelerate in 2006 with a 6.5 percent increase. Shipments of commercial riders are predicted to grow by 13 percent for the 2005 Model Year, and increase another 19.7 percent for 2006.

For 2006, growth for all forecasted gasoline powered handheld products combined — hand-held blowers, backpack blowers, trimmers and chain saws — will increase to 2.5 percent over 2005 numbers, with total shipments for 2006 adding up to about 12.2 million units for these products.

2006 Shipment Forecast
Equipment Percent increase for 2006
Consumer Walk-Behind Mowers 5.1 percent
Consumer Riding Mowers 6.7 percent
Commercial Walk-Behind Mowers 6.5 percent
Commercial Riding Mowers 19.7 percent
Gasoline Powered Handheld Units 2.4 percent
Source: The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

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