Small Tools Have Big Lube Potential

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Handheld outdoor power equipment sales are around $15 billion in the U.S., which allows for a correspondingly large – but possibly not fully exploited – market for high-performance lubricants, according to Infineum.

Pat Fetterman, account manager of sales for Infineum, pointed this out during the Infineum Trends 50th anniversary presentation at the Petroleum Packaging Councils fall meeting. This year marks the first time that the overview has included the handheld tools segment, which includes gasoline-powered equipment such leaf blowers, garden trimmers, and chain saws.

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Manufacturers such as Stihl, Sears, and Black & Decker sell tens of billions of machines a year to landscapers, log owners, home owners, and a litany of other buyers, Fetterman said, which means theres a correspondingly large market for lubricants.

Infineum surveyed both commercial and domestic end-users to find out their most important requirements for lubricants in this segment, which Fetterman said represents a huge market. The results pointed to startability as the most crucial factor driving selection for both types of users, but Infineum found several other distinctions between the two groups.

Commercial users tend to value dealer recommendations, prefer to use original engine manufacturer oils, and typically remain loyal to a brand, Fetterman pointed out. On the other hand, domestic users dont favor a particular brand, but instead are mainly price-conscious and will switch lubricants brands for a lower price.

Both user groups, however, are keen on packaging improvements. He cited instructions printed on packaging, needed to help users determine the correct ratio of fuel and oil to use, as a factor of utmost importance in the selection process. Fetterman also noted that gas-powered handheld devices are not currently subject to federal environmental regulations.

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