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GIE+EXPO: A telling trade show

December 18, 2017 -  By
Photo: Landscape Management

Photo: Landscape Management

If the landscape industry’s largest trade show is any indication of how the market is doing, things are going well.

This year’s GIE+EXPO, held annually in Louisville, Ky., topped the last three years’ records in both attendance and exhibitors with more than 24,000 people from around the world, representing a 7 percent increase over 2016. Additionally, exhibit space grew 9 percent.

There were more than 1,005 indoor and outdoor exhibits at GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America (HNA), including 226 new exhibitors. The indoor show floor was 50,000 square feet larger than in 2016. The outdoor demonstration area covered 20 acres, and attendees had two full days to test equipment. Compared to 2016, HNA increased in size by more than 16 percent.

Equipment trends

Several product categories stood out as ones to watch: battery-powered equipment, including robotic mowers, and connected equipment.

Photo: Honda

Photo: Honda

More suppliers than ever touted their battery-powered handheld products. Notably, Oregon released a 120v line of battery-powered handheld tools, and Super Lawn Technologies exhibited the Super Mobile Solar Powered Charging System, a truck designed to power a three-man crew using commercial-grade, battery-powered equipment for a full work day.

Robotic mowers, once considered just a fad for homeowners, also made a big appearance at the show this year. Manufacturers including Stihl, Honda and Husqvarna showed off their automated mowing products, which recharge in their docking stations.

The turning point for the professional market, according to Kris Kiser, CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, is the advent of the first North American robotic lawn mower standard.

“It’s a big deal,” he says, noting it should be released in early 2018. “Once there is a standard, it will change how robotic mowers are marketed.”

Several manufacturers debuted “Internet of things” platforms for connecting contractors to their equipment in the field, allowing insight into real-time data that can potentially boost productivity and profitability. Briggs & Stratton’s InfoHub for Commercial Turf rolled out at GIE+EXPO after two years in development, and Husqvarna’s Fleet Services system will launch in 2018.

Photos: LM; Honda

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Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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