Consumer Riding Mowers – Market Trends

Dealers who haven’t stocked up on consumer motorcyclists properly this year can be cut down by customers eager to make a purchase. The season has started strong and early, with owners holding open houses at dealerships with buying plans.

Tracking consumer buying trends and personalizing your sales and service can keep that momentum started in early spring through summer.

Year of recovery

The warm weather at the start of the year prompted consumers to buy and as a result dealers saw increased traffic in showrooms. Many equipment manufacturers have reported high volume orders for riding mowers and walk-behind mowers. Forecasts also indicate that demand could continue over the next few months.

“The lawn and garden season got off to a strong start with the unusually warm weather most of the country experienced,” said Mike Van Helvoirt, director of residential product marketing at Ariens Company. “Peak demand has been brought forward by about 30 days in many parts of the country.”

Sales are already higher than last year, which could be a year of strong recovery for the product segment. Dealers continue to refresh their stocks of endorsements during the sales season, but many are cautiously optimistic.

“The consumer mower market seems to be picking up steam,” says Kim Ridel, tactical brand manager for riding lawn equipment at John Deere. “At this point, industry sales are higher than last year, which is of course very positive. Due to the early onset of spring in various parts of the United States, dealer orders started early and continued at a steady pace. that industry sales are ahead of last year, we’re optimistic, but it’s really too early to tell. “

According to the most recent OPEI shipping data, mower shipments are up 8.1% from 2011. Even stronger growth is forecast for 2013. Consumer mower sales are driven by housing starts and consumers with higher disposable income. Both will continue to increase over the next two years, according to the report.

Customer buying trends

To further ensure your success in the sales season, it is important to stay on top of consumer buying trends. Know what your consumer customers are looking for and make sure you stock products that meet their needs and wants.

“Due to the weather in early spring this season, we have seen a rapid start in spring demand from both the consumer and professional side of our business,” said Jeff Hallgren, director of product and channel development at Schiller Grounds Care. “The consumer side of our business is their need for affordable prices that deliver professional performance in terms of fit, traction and handling, comfort and controls.”

Many large property owners have, in recent years, taken on lawn maintenance tasks that they previously hired a landscaper for. They want to achieve the same results as a professional, but do it themselves in a minimum of time.

“We sell a lot of mowers to large area owners who want a reliable mower so they can finish their job in the yard, get a carpet-like cut and still have most of the weekend to play around with. family, “agrees Patsy Penner, marketing coordinator for The Grasshopper Company.

Ridel agrees, saying owners are looking for features like power steering, power lift and comfortable seats that make their lives easier. There is also a visible trend of consumers to prefer zero-turn mowers over traditional garden tractors.

Residential user sales increased 5.3% in 2012. With this growth, the size of the industry will reach 1.16 million, but will remain well below the shipping levels of 1.7 to 1.8 million. observed between 2003 and 2005.

Husqvarna recently introduced a new lawn tractor. “The Fast Tractor is designed to meet the needs of consumers who demand high performance and high quality,” said John Marchionda, vice president of marketing at Husqvarna. “We have chosen to officially launch this product now to educate consumers during the lawn care season and to capitalize on the SPEED association with our partners (Lowe’s, Jimmie Johnson and Anything with an Engine video game) so that the brand Fast Tractor really promises to resonate with consumers. “

Customers are looking for a mower that saves them money in the long run. No, they are not looking for the lowest purchase price, but are investing in a quality product that will perform for years with regular maintenance.

“A low cost of ownership is more economical than a low purchase price, so savvy consumers are looking for long-term value,” says Penner. “They want a mower that not only provides a clean, level cut, but will outlast its warranty while still being good value for money. ”

Custom sale

Many dealers started with a spring open house to get customers, excited about the changing weather, to see what product they could use to control their lawns this year. This gives them the opportunity to interact with customers and showcase products.

“Educate the local market on your brands and the difference your business makes,” says Hallgren. “Go beyond traditional advertising to build relationships and connect with prospects today and tomorrow.”

After the first spring rush is over, dealers need to keep themselves and their mowers in the minds of consumers. A great way to connect with customers is to personalize the sales experience as much as possible. A great way to do this is to use onsite demos.

“The Way to Sell a High Quality Riding Mower Like Grasshopper to a Large Area Owner
is to demonstrate its high performance and rugged construction on site, ”says Penner. “Not all zero-turn mowers are created equal, and how to show the
differences and benefits is to demonstrate on the grass, experience the handling and handling, and see how it works in real mowing conditions. “

Personalization of the customer experience should also include personal programs for the maintenance of equipment that meet their specific needs. Many consumers will need reminders and help with maintenance. Sending reminders in the mail shows you care about them, and the performance and life of their equipment.

Working with the customer to extend the life of the mower to its full potential builds customer confidence in your services and products. They are more likely to come back to you to buy their next mower and encourage their friends and family to do the same.

“Selling a service is always a positive thing for a dealership. The point is, most outdoor power equipment will need routine maintenance to maintain peak performance, ”says Van Helvoirt. “If you can get the customer back to have their equipment repaired, they’re back in your store and you have another point of contact with that customer. “

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