U.S. Home and Commercial Lawn Robots.

Part
01
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Part
01

Garden Lawn Robots

Top companies offering robotic lawn mowers for residential (non-commercial) use in the U.S. include Bosch, Friendly Robotics, Husqrvana, Zucchetti, and Global Garden Products. Robotic mowers have been available in Europe for two decades, but have only recently been introduced in the U.S.. Current marketing efforts in the U.S. for robotic mowers consist of videos, interactive websites, and extensive FAQ sections.

MARKET OVERVIEW

The worldwide market for robotic lawn mowers is projected to reach $2 billion by 2021, with a CAGR of 4% between 2016 and 2021. Europe represented more than 60% of the market in 2015, though it only accounted for about 20% of the $38 billion total lawn mower market globally. However, the U.S. segment has seen significant growth during the past 2 years.

METHODOLOGY

The top competitors in the residential robotic lawn mower space were determined by using Technavio's market research report, cross-referenced with lists of highly rated mowers from Groom + Style and Digital Trends, and a competitive marketing analysis completed by TechoLawn.

BOSCH

Bosch is a well-known leader in power tools and offers three models of their Indego robotic lawnmower. A search of the company's website does not indicate U.S. pricing; however, one article highlights robotic mowers and indicates the price for an Indego mowers is roughly $2,000. The Bosch robotic mower is hailed for grass cutting in parallel lines.

FRIENDLY ROBOTICS

Friendly Machines was renamed Friendly Robotics in 1999. The company was founded by two Israeli entrepreneurs in 1995. Currently producing their 5th generation of robotic mowers, the latest version includes programming capability via smartphone app. Sold under the Robomow brand name, the company offers 5 models of robotic mowers ranging in price from $699 to $2,499.

GLOBAL GARDEN PRODUCTS

Italy's Global Garden Products was founded in 2000 upon the merger of four well-known European lawn mower brands: Stiga, Alpina, Mountfield and Castelgarden. In 2012, the company acquired LiCosrl’s Lizard robotic lawnmower brand, currently selling robotic mowers under the Stiga name. Ten models are available, with pricing available by directly contacting dealers.

HUSQRVANA GROUP

The Husqrvana Group is a Swedish company offering 4 different Automowers ranging in price from approximately $2,000 to $3,500, as well as other robotic mowers under brand names such as Flymo, Gardena, and McCulloch. The company is credited with having created the first robotic mower in 1995 (which was also solar powered), and has sold over 1 million mowers worldwide.   

ZUCCHETTI CENTROL SISTEMI

The Ambrogio Robot, manufactured by Italian company Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, was released in the U.S. in 2017 following significant success in Europe. Since the creation of Ambrogio in 2000, over 220,000 units have been sold in Europe. Sixteen models will be offered under the Lawnbott® brand, with distribution handled by Paradise Robotics. Prices range from $1,199 to $4,799 (for large yards, including 2+ acres).
 

KOBI

A potential future competitor is Kobi. New York-based The Kobi Company was launched in 2015 and offers a single machine with 3 modules, providing a solution for all seasons and priced at $3,999 and up. The modules offer lawn mowing, leaf removal, and snow blowing capabilities. At this time, the company is not taking new orders as they are still working through the initial test unit requests.

MARKETING

Robotic lawn mowers have been available in Europe for quite some time, but have only recently been introduced to the U.S. market. As a result, marketing initiatives have been limited to videos, interactive websites for model comparison, and extensive FAQ sections. The websites for each of the aforementioned companies are linked to this response, each providing detailed information on model capabilities and where to purchase them. Some examples of U.S. marketing initiatives include:

* Robomow's interactive website, including a yard measuring tool
* Ambrogio YouTube video and Robomow mower video
* Husqrvana FAQs

For comparison, I searched for marketing programs in other countries and found:

* A distributor in Ireland offering home demonstrations of robotic lawn mowers,
* A marketing campaign in the UK involving pop-up gardens at 3 shopping centers,
* Detailed, visually engaging product brochures that showcase Husqrvana as a one stop supplier for all gardening needs, and
* An ambassador showcase at a Garden Center in the UK.

Whether similar marketing initiatives will be launched in the U.S. remains to be seen.

CONCLUSION

Robotic mowers have only recently been introduced in the U.S. despite a long term presence in Europe. Top companies in this space include Bosch, Friendly Robotics, Husqrvana, Zucchetti, and Global Garden Products. Current marketing efforts in the U.S. are limited to videos, interactive websites, and extensive FAQ sections on company websites


Part
02
of two
Part
02

Commercial Lawn Robots

The estimated U.S. market for robotic lawn mowers will be $520 million by 2021, with around $171 million of that being in the commercial space. These robots can be either autonomous or remote controlled, with Zucchetti Centro Sistemi and Bel Robotics producing the only mass-market autonomous, commercial models currently available in the U.S.

Industry overview

Since emerging in Europe in 1995, robotic lawn mowers have slowly but steadily claimed a larger share of the mower market. They are expected to make up about 25% of the market by 2025, based on projections from China. These products are designed to manage foliage growth more efficiently than manual labor and have developed along two axes: autonomous robots and remote-controlled devices. As befitting their European origin, 4 out of the 5 major robotic mower companies are based in Europe. Because of the technical expertise involved in their development, the market remains highly concentrated with new players only slowly making their way in. As such, the leading European companies are forecast to dominate the market into the early 2020s, with American companies following behind.

Current market size

According to reports from Arizton, Technavio, and Beige Market Intelligence the size of the global robotic mower market is expected to be around $2 billion by 2021. Because it made the most information freely available, I used the Beige Market Intelligence report for my estimates. While information on the industry is available behind paywalls, there is no freely available market sizing for the United States. Therefore, I estimated the size using percentages from other reports. Based on a report by Grand View Research, the U.S. makes up 66% of normal mower sales, with Europe accounting for 20%, and the rest of the world the remaining 14%. Assuming the distribution for the rest of the world remains steady, and knowing that Europe accounts for 60% of the robotic mower market, that leaves 26% for the United States.

If the global market for all robotic mowers is estimated to be $2 billion in 2021, then the 26% of this market that the United States claims would be valued at $520 million.

Knowing the total size of the U.S. market, I can estimate the size of the commercial market in the U.S. Assuming that the distribution of mowers between commercial and residential uses is the same for robotic mowers as it is for normal mowers, we can assume that 33% of robotic mowers are being used for commercial purposes. That division means that the market for commercial robotic mowers in the U.S. in 2021 will be worth an estimated $171 million.

Top Companies

After extensive searching, I was only able to find two companies with serious marketing presences in the United States that sell commercial lawn robots (capacity of over 10,000 sq. m.). These two companies are Zucchetti Centro Sistemi and Bel Robotics. Both of them are European manufacturers, but they have U.S. distributors. The other major producers of robotic mowers, as ranked by Arizton, Technavio, and Beige Market Intelligence, are Bosch, Friendly Robotics (also known as Robomow), Global Garden Products, and the Husqvarna Group. None of these companies sell a commercial-capacity mower in the U.S. Competitors like John Deere or Worx have substantial presences in the U.S. but only sell residental-capacity units. Other companies like Turflynx do produce commercial-capacity mowers, but they do not distribute them in the U.S.

Based in Italy, Zucchetti Centro Sistemi is a technology conglomerate that specializes in a range of applications, including robotics. They export to over 50 countries and generated €53 million in net sales last year. They have been designing robots since 2000 and have sold over 220,000 units. The robotic mower model produced by Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, sold in the English-speaking world by Ambrogio, is the L400. Fully autonomous, the robot is capable of mowing 10,000 sq. m. without a GPS installed or 20,000 sq. m. with a GPS.

Bel Robotics is a Belgian company specializing in robotic mowers and golf-ball collectors. Owned by a Japanese technology firm, they have focused their business largely on sporting venues like golf courses and football pitches. Through their U.S. distributor Probotics, they sell two commercial grade robotic mowers: the Big Mow (capable of covering over 20,000 sq. m.) and the Parc Mow (capable of covering 10,000 sq. m.).

Several companies in the United States have developed remote-controlled robotic mowers for commercial applications. While not strictly in the same category as autonomous robots because they require active human monitoring, these robots have gained traction in the landscaping industry because they closely mimic the function of existing technology.

The major companies in the remote controlled space are Evatech and RemoteMowers. Both of these companies produce a range of robotic mowers that mimic the capabilities of human-drive mowers. They are controlled by an operator from a distance of up to 1,000 m. away. While not entirely autonomous, they do cut down on overall labor costs.

Current trends

1. Increasing demand — Projections from a number of different research groups point to a growing demand for robotic mowers. The market is expected to grow at a rate of 17% over the next four years.

2. Decreased production costs — As demand rises, the cost of production per unit is expected to drop. This will lead to a drop in prices for the consumer, which should be made up for in volume so that producers will continue to see robust growth.

3. Landscaping Industry Growth — The landscaping industry, which is a $54.2 billion market in the U.S., is expected to grow at a faster rate over the next three years. Combined with growing acceptance of robotic technology, lower costs, and replacement of current stock, this growth should contribute to a growth in robotic mower sales as well.

4. Labor Difficulties — The landscaping industry in the U.S. is facing continued labor difficulties. As the overall economy improves and immigration restrictions increase, companies have been having a difficult time finding and retaining competent employees. This has lead to higher labor costs, which robots would help alleviate. Even using remote-controlled robots, there is the potential to cut labor costs by 50% while increasing efficiency and safety. Autonomous robots have the potential to cut labor costs even further.

Conclusion

With growth projected in the industry and several trends pointing to continued health, the market for commercial robotic mowers looks robust. It is projected to grow to $171 million in the U.S. by 2021.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01