The just-tabulated data from the 2010 Rural Lifestyle Dealer Business Trends Survey & Equipment Forecast shows that equipment dealers are predicting a much stronger year in 2010. Commissioned by Rural Lifestyle Dealer magazine (, the survey data reflects the projections from 297 equipment dealer personnel and was completed in December, 2009.

While the full results, analysis and historical comparisons on the market and coming-year projections of 24 different equipment categories will appear as a special editorial report in the Winter 2010 SHOWCASE edition of Rural Lifestyle Dealer, here are some preliminary highlights of the macro-level results from this one-of-a-kind equipment dealer forecast.
*  47.8% of equipment dealers expect revenue from equipment sales to hobby farmers and lawn/landscape equipment to show measurable growth in 2010, along with 85.1% of dealers who expect total revenue in 2010 to be "as good or better" than 2009.
*  The most bullish product segments for measurable unit sales growth in 2010 are: Zero-Turn Mowers, Rotary Cutters, Tractors (less than 40 hp), Utility Vehicles, Tractors (40-100 hp), Lawn Tractors, Chainsaws, Front-End Loaders, Hay Tools/Balers and Finishing Mowers.
*  60% of equipment dealers report a measurable increase in the number of customers in the rural lifestyle and lawn/landscape segments over the last 5 years, including 18.2% who say that their customer base has increased by 20% or more.
*  Dealers report that customers enter their stores with the equipment brand or unit in mind only about one-half of the time. However, customers accept the dealer's recommendation nearly 80% of the time.
*  Rural lifestyle dealers are gaining the most business from farm equipment dealers, lawn/garden retailers, Big Box stores and rural retailers.
*  67.3% of dealers will maintain 2009 inventory levels, while 14.9% expect to increase their equipment inventory in 2010.
*  Shop/Service improvements lead the way for dealers' capital investment in 2010, as 55.4% of dealers expect to invest in their service facilities in 2010.
For more information on the survey or for a preview of the data in any of the 24 product categories, contact Michael Ellis, Associate Publisher, Rural Lifestyle Dealer, at, 800-645-8455, ext. 432.