Snow blowers

Channel analysis

As snow blower manufacturers are dreaming of a white Christmas—and a white January, and a white February—consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group indicates that blowers and throwers, of the electric and gas-powered variety, are selling briskly to older customers, predominately male, who are increasingly selecting higher-horse power product.

Analysis: The big-box warehouse home centers lead all other channels in unit share (41.2 percent) and dollar share (39.6 percent), but the biggest gainer is the department store channel, up nearly 8 percentage points in dollar share. Hardware stores lost share on both charts.

Analysis: The most powerful 11-hp-or-higher blowers had the biggest increase—almost 7 percentage points—and the under-5 hp class showed the largest year-over-year decline. “Clearly, bigger is better here,” said Mark Delaney, NPD Group’s director of home improvement. He also suggested that the jump in the electric-corded category is likely connected to the rise in green-product awareness.

Mean while, total average price slightly increased in 2008 to $387, but prices declined in the Northeast by about $20.

Analysis: Last year, the 55-plus age group was essentially tied for last in terms of dollar share. This year, the baby boomers took the lead. Also, of note: research shows more than 72 percent of buyers in the year ended September 2008 were male.

Analysis: While total home improvement stats show brand/model declining in importance from 2007, snow blowers tell a different story indeed—brand/model is up more than 6 percentage points as a purchase motivator to 30.9 percent. Proximity to a retailer is also more important today. “The rise in close to home is very consistent with what we see in other areas as a reason for retailer shopped,” said Delaney. “Also, people are doing more research online so they can go out, get it and get home.”

Methodolgy NPD data is based on monthly tracking of nearly 70 categories to 30,000 optin consumers. The 2008 data above reflects the 12 months ended September 2008.

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