Mower manufacturing sector a significant niche market

The Made in Britain label or Union Jack on a product is still a powerful and effective selling point, both at home and overseas, according to Austin Jarrett, the managing director of Allett Ltd.

“Certainly that is true of markets such as the USA and Australasia, but equally so in France, Germany and other European markets - and is particularly true of the cylinder mower market where there is worldwide recognition of our heritage for fine lawns, stripes and immaculately curated stadiums.”

Austin was talking to Chris Biddle, the host of the Inside Agri-Turf podcast and said that there is not enough recognition of the UK manufacturing sector, given that 45% of our exports are manufactured products.

This year also marks the centenary of the first mass produced petrol lawnmower, the ATCO Standard in 1921 costing 19 guineas. The Stowmarket-based company was reported to be manufacturing well over 10,000 mowers a week during the 1960s.

Having purchased the Allett brand of cylinder mowers in 2007, Austin subsequently acquired the intellectual drawings, plant, equipment and tooling for the Atco range from the then owner Bosch when they closed the Stowmarket factory in 2011. He was unable to purchase the ATCO brand name which was picked up by Stiga Ltd to badge a range of their machines.

Austin says that 2020 was a highly successful year for the company. “I think people had more time to appreciate their garden and were prepared to spend money on it rather than on holidays etc.

“There is little doubt that the UK remains the benchmark for finely manicured lawns and grass areas,” he says, “which are best prepared using a cylinder mower and we are seeing a significant increase in interest in that sector.

“It is also producing a community of lawn-obsessives, who are competitive, and who share and compare their grass masterpieces with fellow enthusiasts via social media.

“I think you could sum up our objective as making machines for people who want to mow the lawn rather than simply cut the grass”.


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