Gardening machines, good market levels
Sales figures for gardening and landscaping machinery and equipment indicate a decline (-7.4%) in the first three months of the year after the record growth recorded in 2021. Variables related to weather trends and industrial raw material supplies may influence the market in the coming months, although forecasts for the end of the year indicate still high sales volumes
The Italian market for gardening and landscaping machinery confirmed its good levels also in the first months of this year. After having closed 2021 with an increase of 14% (1,660,000 vehicles sold in total, between motorised and manual vehicles) and with a particularly brilliant trend for almost all types, in the first three months of 2021 the sector recorded a drop of just a few percentage points while maintaining high volumes. The computation of sales - carried out by the Comagarden Manufacturers' Association (FederUnacoma) and the Morgan statistical survey group - shows a drop of 7.4% in the January-March period compared to the same period in 2021, a loss that the Association considers to be physiological compared to the impressive increase (+39.4%) recorded in the first quarter of last year.
Examining the data for the 2022 quarter - Federica Tugnoli, Comagarden's Secretary of Operations, explained on May 16 in Foggia during a press conference organised during the "Demo Green" demonstration at the Ricciotti Nurseries - we can see slight downturns for the main types, such as brushcutters, which lose just 2.7 percentage points on the previous year, chainsaws, which lose 5.4%, and lawnmowers, which drop by 8.1%. Blowers/aspirators, on the other hand, fell by 11.1%, hedge trimmers by 17.1% and lawn tractors by 13.1%, the latter a slightly bigger loss than that recorded for trimmers (-11.9%). Among the types of equipment showing the biggest drops were sprayers (-29.3%) and snowploughs (-22.3%), while the opposite trend was seen for lawn shears, which grew by 27.8%, pole pruners (+13.2%) and professional zero turners (+8.5%). In this context, the types of battery-powered vehicles confirm the good trend of the last few years, and in the first quarter of 2022 they also show a positive dynamic: if hedge trimmers, blower/aspirators and battery-powered lawn mowers show a limited loss (respectively 10.6%, 4% and 2.6%), all the other types of the segment (trimmers, pole pruners, chainsaws, brushcutters and lawn scissors) register significant increases, between 11 and 28%.
Analysing the elements influencing sales on the domestic market, the Comagarden Secretary pointed first of all to the weather variable. "The season has been abnormal in that it has seen the prolongation of the cold weather even in the first weeks of spring," said Federica Tugnoli, "and continues to be so due to the lack of rainfall; the combination of the two factors produces a slowdown in the vegetative activity of the plants and therefore a delay in maintenance operations that is reflected in the purchase of specific machinery. But the market trend is also affected by factors related to the dynamics of the production and commercial chain, see in particular the slowdown in production due to the shortage of plastic and ferrous materials for the manufacture of machinery and the imposing increase in the cost of energy, which lead to a delay in delivery times, and which have already caused the depletion of warehouse stocks for some types of vehicles. The problem regarding supplies for the industry - it was explained during the conference - is a variable that is destined to weigh heavily for a good part of the year: energy costs remain very high and the raw materials front appears equally critical. "The risk," Tugnoli concluded, "is that rising production costs will lead to an increase in price lists, a factor that may discourage above all the private and hobbyist public, which had rediscovered green care in the lockdown period and which could partly turn to new areas of interest. Apart from possible fluctuations, however, no shocks are expected for the current year. On the basis of industry monitoring, Comagarden expects 2022 to still be good in terms of sales volumes.
The projections indicate a drop of no more than 5.4% by the end of the year to approximately 1,570,000 units sold in total, a quantity that is in any case higher than that recorded in 2020 and also compared to the average of previous years.