The total domestic market for outdoor power equipment has been estimated at around £750 million in 2018, slightly lower than the previous year.
2018 started promisingly for the industry, as many UK economic indicators reported growth, supported by a strong global economy. However, wintry conditions in late February and early March meant the ‘garden season’ started almost a month later than usual. Commercial customers also struggled as the wet conditions that followed led to water-logging in many green spaces. The latter part of spring brought more favourable conditions and order books started filling up again and hopes were expressed of market recovery, only to be dashed by the driest start to summer in modern times. Although a challenge for gardeners, groundsmen faced a challenge to reverse the damage to grass areas and repair dry, unstable soils speedily. In all, the 2018 season was much shorter than most years.
Sales to commercial markets were volatile on a monthly basis but finished the year with an increase of more than 4% in monetary terms. Unit deliveries of compact and sub-compact tractors built on increases in 2017, to advance by 4% and 20%, respectively. In contrast, markets for lawn/garden tractors, ride-on mowers, domestic lawnmowers and handheld garden tools all struggled in the face of the extreme weather conditions experienced during the year. For example, sales of mowers were valued at just under £325 million, including both commercial and domestic models, a decline of about £15 million on the year before.