Leaf blowers, by the numbers

Market size
Leaf blower sales have shown a steady increase in dollar volume over the past three years, increasing to $534.2 million in the 12 months from July 2010 through June 2011, according to consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group.

A 3.1% decline in the number of units sold was matched in the past 12 months by an increase in average selling price.

Channel analysis
The warehouse home centers accounted for close to 60% of those dollars during the past year and showed a 5.3% year-over-year increase in market share. The various other retail channels appear to be locked in a relatively close race for second place. 

Purchase motivators
The motivators of “price” and “trusted brand” rank highest in the leaf blower category, a common finding among all home improvement categories. Price was the leader in determining where a consumer shopped for a leaf blower. But the data show “trusted brand” leads the factors determining which product is purchased. 

Demographic analysis
The data show that the leaf blower category, more than most, holds steady across age and income groups, with relatively even results across these demographic factors. The dip in the 65-plus age group and $150k-plus income group, according to NPD Group, is likely the result of older, wealthier consumers turning to yard service, rather than buying their own blower.

On a regional basis, the South and its year-round yard-work climate make it a prime region for sales, and the region has grown this year. The Midwest is holding the position taken last year, while the Northeast and West regions showed declines. 

The above demographics make it difficult to pinpoint a “typical” leaf blower buyer. But, a most likely candidate would be a Southerner between the ages of 18 and 34, who makes either $15K to 30K, or $100K to $150K. 

Methodology: NPD data are based on monthly tracking of more than 30 home improvement-related categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers.
*2011 data reflects the period July 2010 through June 2011.
**Key: WHC: warehouse home center; MM: mass merchant; DS: department store; SS: specialty store; HS: hardware store

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