Tool Storage Products

Value-Added Features and Efforts to Address Market Needs Support Tool Storage Industry

Tool Storage

Because this market is mature, it is important for suppliers to target opportunities for value-added products and even small levels of market expansion. Gains will be supported by efforts to identify the needs of key demographic groups and the introduction of products with features that solve customers’ problems and give them a reason to upgrade. Efforts to expand e-commerce sales will also aid sales by giving customers access to more products and greater price competition.

Key Findings in the Tool Storage Products Study:

Addressing the Needs of Key Demographics

With high rates of home ownership, baby boomers typically own numerous tools and tool storage products. This group tends to seek storage options that make organizing and transporting tools easier, and is willing and able to afford value-added features such as customization accessories, light bars, and security features.

Millennials are now moving into their first homes and becoming more significant tool buyers; however, many are choosing to live in urban areas and remain in rental properties. Opportunities for this group include products that maximize storage in small spaces and have USB ports to support their smartphone-connected lives. Private labels appeal to this price-conscious demographic that typically has limited brand loyalty.

Increasingly moving into their own homes, women represent a rising target demographic for tool and tool storage sales. Suppliers need to avoid stereotypes (e.g., pink products), but can appeal to women with lighter-weight items or versions with wheels that are easier to handle. Items that accommodate crafting supplies is another way to reach this market.

E-Commerce is the Rising Channel for Both Professional- and Consumer-Grade Tool Storage

E-commerce is the fastest growing distribution channel for tool storage products. Although online retail sites offer more convenient browsing and a larger product catalog than physical stores, some consumers will continue to prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar locations for the opportunity to examine tool storage products before purchasing them. Still, showrooming – the process by which a consumer browses and handles a floor model and then purchases the product online, often at a lower price – will boost sales online.

Tariffs and Threats of Trade War Are Creating Uncertainty for Major Suppliers

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

However, the Trump administration’s May 2018 tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum imported to the US will contribute somewhat to uncertainty for storage suppliers in light of possible changes in supply chains and price volatility for these key materials, at least in the near term.

Additionally, after a finding of dumping in May 2018, the Trump administration imposed stiff duties on imports of certain tool storage products from China and Vietnam. The effect on even US-based suppliers is likely to be balanced by the negative effect of uncertainty in material pricing stemming from the above steel and aluminum tariffs.

Study Coverage

This study presents historical demand data (2007, 2012 and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by class (professional-grade and consumer-grade), product (chests and cabinets; boxes, cases, bags and belts; carts; and accessories), and distribution channel (direct sales and distributors, home centers, hardware stores, e-commerce, mass marketers). The study also analyzes consumer attitudes and purchasing patterns, product innovations, and marketing trends, and evaluates company market share and analyzes industry competitors including Apex Tools, Snap-on, Stanley Black & Decker, and Techtronic Industries.

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