In the 2018 Rural Lifestyle Dealer Business Trends & Outlook report, dealers shared their forecasts for increases in unit sales, with zero-turn mowers topping the list of 26 categories. About 77% of dealers expect unit sales of zero-turn mowers to increase 2-8% or more this year. Tractors less than 40 horsepower ranked second with about 69% of dealers expecting those levels of unit sales increases. Utility vehicles ranked third, rotary cutters ranked fourth and front-end loaders ranked fifth with 51.5%, 51.4% and 51.1%, respectively. (See the table below, "Product Lines with Most Potential to Increase Unit Sales in 2018.”)
Zero-turn mowers and tractors less than 40 horsepower claimed the first and second spots in last year’s survey. Rotary cutters ranked third, front-end loaders ranked fourth and utility vehicles ranked fifth — so the categories moved slightly in position, but the top 5 rankings remain steady.
There was some shifting in the rankings of the other categories. For instance, tractors from 40-100 horsepower ranked 6th this year and 9th last year. Hay tools/balers ranked 7th vs. 13th last year. Chain saws ranked 8th this year and 6th last year; tillers 9th this year and 10th last year; and lawn tractors 10th this year vs. 7th last year.
View the full feature in the winter 2018 issue.