Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) Category Trends
Four qualities that people expect out of lawn mowers/outdoor power equipment are rechargeable products, customization, comfort, and power/speed/function.
- Many consumers expect that lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment in general be rechargeable (battery-powered).
- A 2019 article in Pro Tool Reviews noted that "cordless mowers [are] gaining popularity in nearly every market area."
- Greenworks North America's Director of Independent Retail echoed that point, but with regard to the overall outdoor power equipment market, in stating that "[t]he transition from gasoline-powered to rechargeable outdoor power equipment is really accelerating within the marketplace." He went on to describe that transition as an industry "transformation."
- He further noted that two factors are driving that transition/transformation. First, on the consumer end of the market, rechargeable outdoor power equipment products account for "a significant amount of the SKUs offered at the national retailers." That fact, in conjunction with the societal awareness about eco-friendly/sustainability, has resulted in consumers increasingly making the switch to rechargeable outdoor power equipment products, including lawn mowers.
- The second factor he identified is that an increasing number of restrictions/bans on noise are being implemented across the U.S., as is now the case in over 500 cities. Rechargeable outdoor power equipment is obviously much quieter than gas-powered products and thus is in-line with those noise rules.
- The Vice President of Lawn and Garden at the company called Earthquake noted that "[c]onsumers have a growing interest in battery-powered equipment."
- The General Manager of Husqvarna said that the company has "seen a lot of success with our commercial battery products as more and more professionals recognize not only the importance of a sustainable future but also the convenience and performance these products are offering."
2. Feelings At the Time of Purchase
- Skepticism was a theme we found among some consumers when they purchase rechargeable mowers. They appear to be intrigued by the concept, but aren't really sure how well it will work. Ultimately, they decide to give it a chance.
- One customer said he/she "was on the fence" while deciding whether to purchase a rechargeable mower.
- As one customer said, "[d]espite all the great reviews, I had pretty low expectations, especially considering the state of my yard."
- Consumers expect customized lawn mowers that fulfill their particular needs.
- The "senior marketing manager for walk-behind mowers at Toro" explained that "[c]onsumers’ expectations are that the products and services they want can be customized to suit their needs."
2. Feelings At the Time of Purchase
- A feeling that was iterated by some customers who noted they purchased a particular model due to how it custom-met their particular needs was that they had been searching for such a mower. Furthermore, while not expressly stated, the inference was that they were sort of tired of searching.
- As a customer who purchased a mower that custom-met his needs said, "I ordered this mower due to the fact it is hard in my area to find a dealer that keeps a small ZTR in stock. After reading a few reviews I decided to go with the Toro." We provided a screenshot of that review and the one that follows on the first page of this Google Doc because the URL links to those reviews were not working for some reason.
- Another customer who purchased a mower that custom-met his needs stated, "I was looking for a rider small enough for my residential lot but with enough power and cut size." That customer also said noted he was initially "a bit intimidated of a zero turn [mower]."
- Consumers expect the lawn mowers they buy to be comfortable to use.
- As Excel Industries' Director of New Product Development stated, "[w]e continue to see a focus on operator comfort."
2. Feelings At The Time of Purchase
- Regarding customers' feelings at the time of purchase, a customer said the following about a mower that was described as comfortable: "I expected this to be a nice lawn tractor based on the reviews and I am not disappointed." We provided a screenshot of that review and the one that follows on the second page of this Google Doc because the URL links to those reviews were not working for some reason.
- Another customer had the following to say about his feelings at the time of deciding whether to purchase the aforementioned, comfortable mower: "My first impression of this lawn tractor was great. Very attractive to the eye, and although it lacked a few features I was looking for I settled for it."
Power, Speed, & Function
- Consumers expect that the lawn mowers they buy will be fast, easy to maneuver, and have powerful engines.
- Stand-on mowers exemplify those aforementioned qualities and thus they have risen in popularity among landscapers.
- Wright Manufacturing's Vice President of Engineering, Sales, & Marketing explained that the competitive nature of the landscaping market has driven landscapers to buy mowers that are high-performing, as "[m]ore and more landscapers are moving into more powerful engine options."
- Zero-turn mowers also exemplify the fast and easy-to-maneuver qualities mentioned above and thus are popular on the consumer end of the market, as people want to mow the lawn quickly and with ease.
2. Feelings At the Time of Purchase
- With regard to a mower that was described as easy to maneuver, a customer stated the following: "Honestly, I was skeptical at first, however, this turned out to be a GREAT buy for an AWESOME price!"
- With regard to a mower advertised as powerful, a customer said the following: "I purchased this mower based on the star rating and reviews." Thus, the customer's feeling at the time of purchase was that the mower would live up to the reviews and ratings it received online. We provided a screenshot of that review on the third page of the Google Doc for the same reason of the URL link not working.
Identifying consumers' feelings at the time of purchasing lawn mowers was difficult, considering that those feelings vary from customer to customer and from product to product. Furthermore, the fact that our research focused on different expectations that customers have of lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment made that assessment of their feelings at the time of purchase increasingly challenging. However, the solution we implemented to account for those factors as best we could was to first find one or more lawn mowers that were regarded (either by some customers or in the product descriptions) as exemplifying each consumer expectation we listed in our research findings.
After doing so, we then looked through customer reviews of the product(s) and identified sentiments that at least a few people had at the time of purchasing those products. That approach enabled us to zero-in on common feelings people had at the time of purchase, instead of mentioning any one person's feelings which might not be true of the broader, consumer group. The goal behind this approach was not to focus on a particular make and model of a lawn mower, but rather was to ascertain the feelings that a few consumers had when purchasing products that exemplified the consumer expectations we identified in our research. This was the best approach we felt enabled us to provide a reasonable assessment of consumers' feelings at the time of purchasing lawn mowers. We didn't find much information about consumers' expectations of tractors, so that's why we focused on lawn mowers as much as possible, though there were a few mentions of outdoor power equipment in our findings as well. However, we noted whether our findings pertained to lawn mowers or outdoor power equipment for clarity.