STIHL Increases Share Of Battery Tools Sold By 4%

STIHL CEO Michael Traub also presented the new TSA 300, the company's most powerful battery cut-off machine at the annual press conference.

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Michael Traub, Chairman of the Executive Board of STIHL.

The STIHL Group, a leading manufacturer of chainsaws and outdoor power equipment, increased the share of sales from battery-operated tools to 24% — up from 20% in the previous year. As a result, almost every fourth STIHL product sold is battery-operated. This and other news were announced at the 2024 annual financial press conference held yesterday.

While sales of gasoline-powered products declined significantly, the battery and iMow business grew. In Western Europe and North America in particular, the battery drive type already plays a major role and will gain even more importance in the years ahead. STIHL aims to increase the share of sales from battery-operated products to at least 35% by 2027, with a target of 80% by 2035.

STIHL
STIHL RZA 760

The expansion of the STIHL battery-operated product and service portfolio is in full swing, both in terms of the handheld product range and the introduction of new wheeled products. In January 2024, for example, STIHL launched the first battery-operated zero-turn mower — a battery-powered ride-on mower with zero-turn technology — in its largest and most important market, the U.S. Thirty new battery-operated products are scheduled to hit the market worldwide over the next two years alone.

Michael Traub, chairman of the Executive Board of STIHL, comments, “STIHL is well on its way to taking a leading position in the battery segment.”

“The substitution of gasoline-powered products with battery-operated ones is advancing rapidly,” he says. “This requires our full power for transformation, which we approach from a position of strength. At the same time, this trend confirms that we are on the right track. We are continuing to focus our investments on the battery technology of the future and are confident that we will achieve our ambitious growth plans.”

Post-Pandemic Challenges

At the same time, the past fiscal year was characterized by a variety of challenges. After years of particularly strong growth during the pandemic, the entire industry is now in a phase of consolidation. The STIHL Group’s revenue totaled 5.3 billion euros in fiscal year 2023 (previous year: 5.5 billion euros). Despite the slight year-on-year decline of 4.1%, revenue was still at a significantly higher level than before the pandemic. Negative exchange rate effects also impacted revenue. Excluding exchange rate effects, the decline in revenue would only have amounted to 1.1%. The number of employees worldwide fell by 3.6% to 19,805 as of December 31, 2023 (previous year: 20,552).

“After three years of extremely strong growth, we were confronted with declining demand in 2023,” Traub explains. “This phase, which we experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic, is over. Lockdowns and travel restrictions had led to a cocooning effect. Home and garden maintenance was very popular, and many consumers invested in new tools. High inflation and rising interest rates have now dampened consumer sentiment. In addition, dealers and retailers have plenty of stock that they now need to sell off first.”

The United States is STIHL’s largest single market, accounting for around one-third of revenue. Due to weather conditions, the Spring season failed to materialize. Canada suffered from massive forest fires and flooding. As a result, sales in North America was significantly lower than in the previous year. At the same time, STIHL succeeded in expanding the dealer network and increasing the market share attributable to battery-operated products in North America.

“STIHL has grown by over 30% since 2019,” Traub says. “Right now, we are moving toward a normalization of growth. Irrespective of this, we are continuing to pursue our long-term strategy of achieving dual technological leadership: leading the sustainable transformation in both the battery- and gasoline-powered tool segments.”

With a high equity ratio of 65.9% (previous year: 61.9%) and a solid balance sheet structure, the Group continued to fund key strategic investments internally in 2023. As Traub explains: “We are planning further growth in the medium and long term, especially in the battery sector. With our long-term investment strategy, we are preparing our global production and manufacturing network for the increased demand for batteries.”

in the U.S., STIHL converted 7,800 square meters for the production of battery-operated tools. Roughly $13 million was invested in expanding the production of battery saws, leaf blowers, pruning shears, trimmers, and edge trimmers and launching the production of ten additional cordless products. STIHL Inc. also doubled AP battery pack manufacturing capacity in 2023.

Optimism For The Future

As an independent family-owned business, STIHL is capable of planning and acting for the long term despite the current challenges. Traub is cautiously optimistic about the current year: “Under the current conditions, we currently hope for slight growth in the second half of 2024.”

Developing high-performance charging solutions for battery-operated products, particularly in the professional segment, plays an especially important role. Doing so will make it easier for people to operate their battery-operated tools without interruption throughout the day, and work in and with nature.

Likewise, STIHL is continuing to invest in the IoT capability of its products and accessories, in the expansion of global sales channels with the addition of e-commerce solutions and growing the global network of specialist dealers. Last but not least, the development of special products for emerging markets also plays a major role in order to better leverage the market potential there.

Pro Product Solutions

Battery-operated outdoor power equipment has become indispensable and is already part of everyday working life for many landscaping professionals in the public and private sector alike. However, advances in technology mean they can now also be used in places where gasoline-powered tools were previously used almost exclusively, such as on construction sites.

  • The RZA 700 series battery-operated zero-turn mowers (RZA 760 shown above) have been available on the U.S. market since January 2024. With a long battery runtime of up to eight hours, they are designed for all-day commercial use. Even large areas can be mowed efficiently and without recharging in between. The constant blade speed also enables a precise cutting pattern. With their robust and ergonomic design, they make everyday work easier for professional customers.

    At the 2024 financial press conference, STIHL CEO Michael Traub presented the new TSA 300, currently the most powerful battery cut-off machine in the STIHL product portfolio.
  • In the AP battery system, STIHL is expanding its portfolio of cut-off machines with the STIHL TSA 300: The most powerful battery-operated cut-off machine currently in the STIHL range offers precise cutting action, minimum-vibration operation, and optimum balance with low weight. With its maximum cutting depth of 110 millimeters, it is particularly suitable for horticulture and landscaping — and can be turned on at the touch of a button, eliminating the need for time-consuming starting. Thanks to new power laminate technology, the AP 500 S battery provides sufficient energy for up to 20 minutes of operation. In addition to the cutting wheel supplied as standard, two cutting wheels are available as accessories. A diamond cutting blade impresses with its speed and up to 20% more cutting performance. For work in noise-sensitive areas such as residential areas, a noise-reduced cutting wheel is also available, which not only protects the ears of the neighbors, but also those of the user.
  • Support for challenges at lofty heights is also available: With the STIHL HTA 160, currently the most powerful battery-operated pole pruner in the STIHL range, tree maintenance professionals can reach branches and dead wood at great heights from a safe stand on the ground and remove them cleanly. Even adverse weather conditions are no problem thanks to the IPX4-certified AP 300 S battery.
  • STIHL connected offers the right digital solution to ensure that equipment is always ready for use. The completely overhauled, cloud-based system solution gives professional users a detailed overview of all relevant tool data such as battery life and upcoming maintenance for efficient equipment management, optimized capacity utilization, and less downtime.

For related news, read:

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Get Equipped: Gas & Diesel Mowers

STIHL Inc. Announces Eric Bjorling As New Vice President Of Marketing

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