Hand Tools

Opportunities Exist, Even in this Mature Market

Hand Tools

US demand for hand tools is expected to grow 1.4% annually to $5.7 billion in 2022. In a mature market such as this one, suppliers must find areas where market penetration could still increase and recognize opportunities for value-added growth. For instance, baby boomers, who already own hand tools after many years of homeownership, are now looking for ergonomic improvements to make household repairs, chores, and professional work more comfortable, driving gains in new and value-added tool purchases.

Key Findings in the Hand Tools Study:

Demographic Factors Driving Gains

Growth in the US hand tools market is largely determined by consumer demographics. As people move or buy homes, they often purchase hand tools in anticipation of minor home maintenance and repair activities. Millennials – who have a tendency to delay homeownership – are now moving into their first homes and are becoming more significant tool buyers. However, many are choosing to live in urban areas and remain in rental properties.

Additionally, single women are increasingly moving into their own homes, so this long neglected demographic is a rising target for tool marketers. Suppliers can appeal to women by providing smaller, lightweight versions of tools and kits for common tasks but need to avoid stereotypes such as pink tools.

E-Commerce Boosting Growth in All Markets

E-commerce is by far the fastest growing distribution channel for hand tools, as both consumers and professionals order more online due to convenience and wide product selection. Online purchases can also be picked up in-store after ordering online in the continued integration of e-commerce and retail stores – often known as “bricks and clicks.” Benefits accrue when customers pick up their orders and then decide to buy hand tools or other small add-on items while they are in the store.

Tariffs and Threat of a Trade War Are Creating Uncertainty

China is the largest source of US hand tool imports due to the country’s lower labor costs and extensive manufacturing infrastructure. Imports are forecast to account for an increasing share of US demand as low production costs can provide a significant advantage when savings are passed to the consumer.

However, the Trump administration’s June 2018 steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on metals imported to the US from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico are expected to contribute somewhat to price increases in hand tools, at least in the near term, as companies consider adjusting supply chains. Furthermore, additional tariffs target imports of hand tools and other consumer goods from China, specifically.

Study Coverage

This industry study presents historical demand data (2007, 2012, and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by product (specialized automotive tools; wrenches; pliers; screwdrivers; hammers; paint and masonry tools; chisels; axes, adzes, and hatchets; hand saws; other hand tools; and parts and attachments), by market (construction, automotive aftermarket, industrial and other professional, and consumer), and by distribution channel (direct sales and distributors, home centers, hardware stores, mass marketers, and e-commerce). The study also evaluates company market share and provides analysis on industry competitors including Stanley Black & Decker and Snap-on.

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