We sat down with John Quinley, president of Land Pride, and got his thoughts on key factors currently impacting the rural lifestyle market, some of the most innovative equipment that’s hit the market in the last 10 years and what he sees as the next big innovations to come in the next decade. He also shares his outlook for the rural lifestyle equipment market in 2021.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer: What key factors are currently driving buying habits in the market?
Quinley: Covid has been the driving factor. People have been staying home, not taking vacations or going out to eat, etc. People have a little more money in some cases, or more time. People who live on small acreages and have always wanted to put in a garden or buy a tractor, are doing so. I was talking to a dealer last week, and he said that 2020 sales were up, with 75% of tractors sold going to first-time buyers.
RLD: What do you think has been the most innovative equipment advancement in the past 10 years?
Quinley: The sub-compact tractor is a big one. Designed for less than 5 acres, or a school that doesn’t need a big tractor, but has the comforts and features of a larger tractor in a much smaller frame and horsepower. The small horsepower tractor has been driving that rural lifestyle customer.
RLD: What product innovation do you foresee in the next 10 years?
Quinley: The autonomous tractor for a rural lifestyle customer may be of interest. Lots of rural lifestyle customers buy a tractor for specific use and enjoyment. If autonomous vehicles are out there, does that go down to rural lifestyle customers? Products like autonomous snowblowers might be of interest. Autonomy of some kind will play a part, and telematics on the tractors will play a part. Rural lifestyle customers all like gadgets, just like on our vehicles.
RLD: What is your outlook on the outdoor power equipment market for this year and beyond?
Quinley: The outdoor power equipment market outlook is good. However, there are too many factors at play to really project growth. Low inflation and interest rates in the last few years have spurred sales, and a lot of people have got outside in the last year and figured out what it was like to enjoy the land they have, and that will last awhile. As more people move to suburban areas with a little more land than a typical lot in town, city people are getting the feel of being in the country, and that having a tractor is fun and exciting. A compact tractor isn’t scary to a city boy.
RLD: What keeps you up at night?
Quinley: Production is what keeps me up at night right now. We can’t build product fast enough. Business has grown incredibly, and we build more every year, but demand has always been a step ahead.
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