2019 has seen interesting new developments in market sentiments, with dealers continuing to slowly move away from hardware and steer business objectives toward data management for future revenue, according to the seventh annual Precision Farming Benchmark Study.

More than half of responding dealers identified data management and analysis as their most important area to grow precision business during the next 5 years. Only about 11% marked it as “least important,” the lowest total among the 10 areas included in the study.

Furthering the notion that dealers are targeting revenue opportunities connected to, but solely reliant on equipment sales, were priority shifts in planter control systems and application technology.

Both areas have historically ranked near the top of dealers’ lists of future revenue drivers, but planter systems placed third and application tech was seventh in the 2019 study.

But there were also indicators that precision hardware sales will be a key contributor to revenue growth for dealers. GPS and guidance systems ranked as the second most important area for 5-year revenue projections among dealers, after ranking sixth on the list in 2018.

Perhaps the most interesting shift was a decline in dealers who viewed agronomic services as a critical part of their business in the future. After more than 43% voted the area “most important” in 2018, just 35% had the same outlook in 2019. Additionally, more than one-third of dealers voted it “least important”, compared to about 21% in 2018.