In the gardening and landscaping machine market, the battery-powered segment is clearly the most active, with triple digit growth for some types of equipment. According to Comagarden data - presented in Bologna by President Franco Novello - in 2018, battery-powered models exceeded 80,000 units sold, with an average increase of 30%. In the first quarter of 2019, this product segment recorded an impressive overall growth (+90%), after the 26% increase already seen in the first quarter of 2018. Some of the categories that recorded the greatest growth were: lawnmowers, which represent around 13% of the total battery products sold in Italy, with a growth of 98% in 2018 and 52% in the first quarter of 2019; trimmers, with a share of 13% of the total, seeing an increase of 62% in 2018 and 206% in the first quarter of 2019; leaf blowers/vacuums, whose sales account for 16% of the total, grew by 31% in 2018 and saw a 177% increase in the first quarter of this year.
The handling, ease of use, silence and eco-compatibility of these products have convinced the market, which is rapidly turning towards these new engines. A specific survey on sales within the large retail chains - carried out by GFK on behalf of Comagarden - reveals that the growth of battery models is found in all the main European markets (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium and Italy). Compared to the total of electrical products, battery-powered products have reached 60%, while those with power cables have fallen to 40% in 2018.
Internal combustion machines, which still represent 56% of the total market, have seen a constant decline over the past 3 years (-1.4% in 2016, -10.7% in 2017 and -5% in 2018), and even the electric cable models showed significant declines in 2017 (-9.9%) and in 2018 (-10.1%). Meanwhile, battery-powered machines achieved substantial increases in the 3-year period, with a 30.2% growth in 2018.
"The preference for electric and battery-powered engines in particular," commented President Novello, "characterizes the entire motor movement, representing the most accredited option for the near future. Already today, battery-powered engines (in particular with the hybrid system) have fully entered the automotive market, and important progress is being made with regard to agricultural vehicles, where some tractors and other types of vehicles are already equipped with battery motors.
"If agricultural machinery is working to overcome the power limits that still affect the development of electric drives," concluded Novello, "we can say that in the 'green' segment this technology already appears mature and is now recognized as such by the market. Robotic mowers are also showing a remarkable development over the years. While they represent 2% of the total market, this category has recorded constant growth since 2014, and in the 2014-2018 5-year period, sales increased from just over 13,000 units to 22,160 units, with an increase of around 70%. The first quarter of this year confirmed the positive trend with a 43% increase."