Equipment dealers who sell to the rural lifestyle market are optimistic about 2014, with nearly 60% expecting revenue increases of 2-8% or more, according to Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2014 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook Survey.

The survey marks the seventh time, Rural Lifestyle Dealer has polled equipment dealers who sell to hobby farmers, large property owners, landscapers, light construction contractors and more. The survey is the most comprehensive analysis of this market segment in the industry.

“The rural lifestyle equipment market continues its upward trend and dealers tell us the segment accounts for nearly half of their total revenues. Dealers are continuing to invest in their businesses to capture this segment. More than 75% have salespeople dedicated to the market and nearly 70% expect to invest in their service departments this year,” says Michael Ellis, publisher of Rural Lifestyle Dealer.

More than half of the responding dealers were “early adopters” in serving the segment. More than 56% saying they have served the rural lifestyle market for more than 16 years. They’ve seen strong market growth with more than half saying their rural lifestyle customer base has grown 5-19% in the last 5 years.

Dealers list these categories as the product lines they expect to have revenue growth of 2-8% this year:

  1. Zero-turn mowers
  2. Tractors under 40 horsepower
  3. Rotary cutters
  4. Tractors 40-100 horsepower
  5. Utility vehicles

What concerns do dealerships have regarding running their businesses this year? Health care program and costs tops the “most concerned about” list, followed by finding good employees, low sales margins, competition from big box and mid-box stores and the unemployment rate.

Dealers are coping with these issues and threats by leveraging their reputation and expertise. Nearly 70% say their product recommendations are accepted most of the time and 60% say customers seek financing from them more than half of the time.

Access the Full Report

The winter issue of Rural Lifestyle Dealer features a 9-page overview of the survey. The full-length 38-page survey features breakout information for the U.S. and Canada, by manufacturer and by size of dealership. For an electronic copy of the complete survey, please contact Michael Ellis, publisher, or Lynn Woolf, managing editor,

To subscribe to the magazine, its twice-monthly email newsletter or its daily news brief, complete the information on this subscription page.

Rural Lifestyle Dealer is now accepting nominations for its 2014 Dealership of the Year. Nominations can come from customers, manufacturers or dealers. The nomination deadline is March 4.

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About Lessiter Publications

Rural Lifestyle Dealer is published by Lessiter Publications. The magazine is the industry’s first and now leading magazine for equipment dealers serving the growing rural lifestyle market in North America. Lessiter Publications was founded in 1981 by Frank and Pam Lessiter. The firm provides niche content through magazines, newsletters, websites, international conferences, books, DVDs, management reports and e-newsletters — in the agricultural and equine industries.

For more information, contact Michael Ellis, Rural Lifestyle Dealer publisher,, 800-645-8455, Ext. 432, or Lynn Woolf, Rural Lifestyle Dealer managing editor,, 316-648-3717.