Power Tools

Bosch garden tools:
Leading market position further strengthened
Speech by Bernd Müller, Sales Director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland of the Power Tools Division, of Robert Bosch GmbH

  • on the occasion of the press conference in Stuttgart on August 23, 2012
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  • August 23, 2012
  • Power Tools
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press release

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The residential garden is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. According to a survey by the Consumption and Media Analysis Association, the number of garden owners who work in the garden numerous times a week has increased by 11 percent over the past two years. Interest in information about garden supplies and garden tools grew even faster: the number of very interested people increased by 23 percent over the same period.

These trend figures are remarkable considering the very rainy summer of 2011. Bad weather prevented many people from enjoying their garden. Gardening enthusiasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland had less time to pursue their hobby.

The effects of the weather also reduced demand for electrically powered garden tools. Market volume shrank year-on-year in terms of units sold by five percent to 2.55 million units and in terms of value by three percent to 284 million euros.

Trend towards high-quality garden tools
The development of the overall market shows that the trend towards high-quality garden tools continues unabated. Quality is becoming more and more important to users. As a result, the average price achieved per electric garden tool has also increased continually over the years: from 2006 to 2011 it rose by 18 percent to the current value of 111 euros. Bosch was instrumental in influencing this trend towards high-quality tools.

Bosch further strengthens market leadership
Thanks to numerous innovations and cutting-edge technology, the Lawn and Garden business unit has managed to grow faster than the market in recent years. In 2011, Bosch Lawn and Garden achieved sales growth of three percent in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in a shrinking market that declined in terms of units sold by three percent. This means that Bosch was able to strengthen its market leadership and increase its market share by one percentage point to 25 percent, and in German homecenters by no less than three percentage points to 33 percent.

High market share gains in cordless tools segment
Bosch achieved especially high market share gains in 2011 in the cordless tools segment: Our market share for cordless shrub shears increased by eight percentage points to 48 percent, for cordless grass trimmers by six percentage points to 40 percent, and for cordless lawnmowers by five percentage points to 66 percent. Thanks to our new series of quiet shredders, we also increased our market share in this segment by three percentage points to 41 percent.

Bosch is therefore the most sought-after brand for hobby gardeners: we are number one in homecenters. This applies not only to the largest market segment, namely electric lawnmowers, but also to hedgecutters, shrub shears and shredders. Six of the ten best-selling electric garden tools in German homecenters are from Bosch.

Hobby gardeners are increasingly recognizing and appreciating the advantages of cordless tools. Whereas the cordless share was 22 percent in 2008, it grew to 33 percent by 2011. As the technology leader for lithium-ion tools, Bosch played a pivotal role in this change.

Building blocks of business success
Bosch’s success with garden tools is essentially based on three building blocks:

· product innovations that meet user requirements,
· strong marketing activities with tangible brand added value at the POS and
· intensive, interactive communication with users.

Success story of Rotak lawnmowers
Our Rotak mowers are an example of how, even in established product segments, it is possible to continually come up with innovations that lead to great market success by consistently considering the needs of users. In 2002 we launched the first Rotak mowers with their innovative “Powerdrive” concept for extremely powerful cutting even in long, damp grass. Our market share for electric lawnmowers back then was only four percent. In the years up to 2011, four more innovations improved the performance, ease of use and ergonomics of Rotak mowers:

· The grass combs enable mowing close to the edge, so that manual trimming at wall edges is no longer necessary.
· The lithium-ion battery drive makes the cable unnecessary.
· The “Efficient Energy Management” EEM increases the runtime of Rotak mowers by 10 to 20 percent.
· The “Ergoflex-System” makes the mowers even easier to handle, and also relieves the strain on the arms and back.

With these innovations, we have obtained market leadership and managed to increase our market share for lawnmowers to 27 percent by 2011. Users give the tools top ratings.

With the “Keo” garden saw, on the other hand, we opened up a completely new market segment. This innovation also received top ratings, as evidenced by comments from convinced customers such as “I’m amazed, this saw is exactly what I wanted!”, and “Great, long awaited tool”.

Tangible Bosch brand added value at the POS
Success in the market does not grow in silence. Only clear communication and intensive advice produce the desired result. We pursue this realization consistently with our Shop-in-Shop concept. The success of this marketing instrument is measurable for our retail customers: Markets with Bosch Shop-in-Shop installations achieved up to 40 percent more growth in the first half of 2012 than markets without this concept.

Attractive online presence has more and more fans
Our website is also continually improving. Navigation to the products is very easy and intuitive. The user receives all information at a glance. Online application videos show how easy it is to work with Bosch tools. By launching a website that is optimized for smartphones, we are already prepared for the future: according to a study by Gartner Research, from 2013 more people will use the internet with mobile devices than with a home PC.

Our “www.1-2-do.com” DIY pages have around 40,000 registered members and more than two million visitors a year, sometimes receiving up to 20,000 visitors a day. This is twice as many as last year. Since March 2012 gardening themes have also been included on this site. The 350 gardening projects submitted so far by members show how good the response has been to these themes. That is around 100 projects per month.

Users are showing great interest in online platforms and interactive communication. On Youtube we have submitted numerous posts under the motto “Make it your home”. Since the summer of this year, 38,000 fans have been registered on our Facebook pages. That is 150 percent more than last year.

Gardening trends and user requirements
We turn gardening trends and user requirements into ideas for successful innovations. After all, new lifestyles require new solutions. More and more people in cities want a garden as an oasis of relaxation and tools for effortless gardening. We are meeting these requirements with the Bosch and Skil brands, and are expanding our range accordingly.

Skil model 0731 line trimmer for urban gardening
If overgrown areas and scrub stand in the way of a garden oasis, the model 0731 line trimmer from Skil will provide a remedy. It removes long grass in no time with its 1000 watt motor ensuring nothing stands in the way of a good garden party. The automatic line extension ensures uninterrupted work. The model 0731 line trimmer is well balanced and comfortable to handle. This is thanks to three fundamental product features: an additional handle that can be individually adjusted, a telescopic shaft that can be used to adjust the work height between 110 and 120 centimeters, and the option to rotate the shaft and therefore the trimmer's head by 180 degrees to enable effort­less cutting of lawn edges.

Hedgecutters with 10.8 volt interchangeable battery
The new Bosch AHS 35-15 LI and AHS 45-15 LI hedgecutters with 10.8 volt interchangeable battery are ideal for smaller gardens or rooftop terraces. With a weight of only 1.9 and 2 kilograms respectively, these tools are not only 25 percent lighter than the predecessor models in the same price class with nickel cadmium battery, they are also effortless to handle thanks to their balanced center of gravity and special ergonomic handles. These hedgecutters are especially mobile and versatile due to their interchangeable 10.8 volt lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries have hardly any self-discharge, so the hedgecutters are ready to use even after lengthy breaks. The batteries also have no memory effect. Powerful, clean cuts are ensured by diamond-ground blades with a length of 35 and 45 centimeters respectively and a tooth opening of 15 millimeters. The innovative “Anti-Blocking” system also prevents the blades from jamming on branches.

Rotak 32 LI cordless mowers offer maximum comfort
When it comes to mowing typical urban gardens, the new Rotak 32 LI and Rotak 32 LI High Power cordless mowers offer maximum comfort. They weigh around ten kilograms only, making them easy to transport, and have foldable handles which enable them to be stored in extremely small spaces. These cordless tools have a battery with 1.3 and 2.6 ampere hours respectively and are designed for a lawned area of 150 and 300 square meters respectively. As with all cordless mowers in the Rotak series, these new models are equipped with the “Ergoflex System” that was launched in 2011 and is certified by Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR) e.V., a German organization which promotes back health. It relieves strain on muscles, tendons and joints, reduces user fatigue and ensures a relaxed lawnmowing experience. A new feature is the safety key, which enables the mowers to be started like a car.

By launching the Rotak-32 LI mowers, we complete our range of cordless lawnmowers and are therefore able to offer the right solution for all customer needs and for every size of garden or lawn:

· for the urban garden with a lawn area of up to 150 square meters there is the Rotak 32 LI,
· for the medium-sized garden there is the Rotak 32 LI High Power for lawn areas of up to 300 square meters and the Rotak 37 LI for areas of up to 400 square meters, and
· for the large garden with lawn areas of up to 600 square meters there is the Rotak 43 LI.

Innovation milestone: the Indego robotic lawnmower
Some garden owners see mowing as a necessary evil to get a nice lawn. They would rather enjoy their often scarce leisure time. The new Indego robotic lawnmower from Bosch meets these requirements for effortless gardening and even more leisure time in an exceptional way because after a one-time in­stallation and programming, users no longer have to do anything themselves. Unlike most solutions in the market, the Indego does not mow the lawn in random patterns. Instead it mows the garden systematically and lane by lane. This is made possible by the new “Logicut” navigation system. As a result, it mows the same area in a third of the time it takes a conventional robotic lawnmower. This means, for example, that conventional robotic lawnmowers require minimum 90 minutes for a 150 square me­ter lawn area, whereas the Indego can mow the same area in less than half an hour. It is also gentle on the lawn and feeds the mowed grass to it as fertilizer.

If the Indego encounters an obstacle during mowing, it is recognized with the aid of sensitive touch sensors, allowing the mower to safely move around it. If the Indego is lifted up, its blades stop immediately. The mower can also be switched off at any time using its safety switch. An audible signal and a security code protect the robotic lawnmower against theft.

Detailed online information and advice
Detailed information, such as videos explaining installation and blade changing, will be available online at product launch on the Bosch Garden Tools homepage and on Youtube. In addition to this, experts are available via the Bosch Application Advice Service - by telephone and by e-mail. An online campaign with links to Facebook and Youtube will invite users to share their experiences.

Electric multi-tool system for the garden
Many users want a garden tool that offers multiple functions with high power. It should also be easy to transport and store. Bosch has responded to this by developing the AMW 10 electric multi-tool system - a trimmer, pole hedgecutter and pole pruner in one. The centerpiece of this multi-tool system is the 1000 watt power unit that delivers high power in every application. Changing the attachments is simple. They are fitted to the tube of the power unit in three easy steps: loosen the adjusting knob, insert the attachment until it clicks into position, and tighten the adjusting knob. The trimmer, pole hedgecutter or pole pruner is then ready to use.

With the trimmer attachment fitted, the AMW 10 is around 1.7 meters long and weighs 5.5 kilograms. Its angled drive shaft makes work easier, as does the supplied shoulder strap. The 3.5-millimeter-thick durable cutting sticks cut the grass very cleanly.

The pole hedgecutter attachment has a blade length of 43 cen­timeters and a tooth opening of 15 millimeters. When it has been clicked into the power unit, the overall length of the tool is around 2.3 meters. The cutting blade can be rotated a full 180 degrees, enabling it to be individually adapted to the specific work situation.

The pole pruner attachment is a chainsaw with a cutting length of 25 centimeters. It can either be clicked directly into the power unit or into an extension pole. Without the extension the tool is 2.1 meters long. With the extension it is 2.8 meters long. An automatic lubrication system ensures that the chain never runs out of oil. All three attachments are just as easy to store as the power unit thanks to the hanging hooks provided.

Forecast
In the first six months of 2012, market development in Germany, Austria and Switzerland was characterized by users exhibiting a generally high willingness to buy: The market grew in terms of value by eight percent. With our innovations and attractive marketing activities we are well positioned to win over more gardening enthusiasts for Bosch products and strengthen our leading position on the market, this year and in the future.

RF00167 - August 23, 2012

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