U.S. Power and Hand Tools Demand to Reach $15.5 Billion in 2009

U.S. demand for power and hand tools is forecast to increase 3.8 percent annually (including price increases) to $15.5 billion in 2009. Advances will result from upgrades to more powerful, high-end power tools, and by the continuing diffusion of cordless products. Accelerating growth in manufacturing output will create opportunities in the professional sector, and continued interest in do-it-yourself (DIY) activities will sustain the consumer market. These and other trends are presented in Power & Hand Tools, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Power tool demand is forecast to outpace hand tools due to the continuing popularity of cordless electric products such as drills and saws. Demand for cordless electric tools will rise 8.3 percent annually through 2009, reaching nearly $2 billion. The introduction of increasingly powerful battery products, such as the 28-volt line being introduced by Milwaukee Electric in 2005, will spur gains across cordless product categories. Much of the growth will reflect increased imports, as both domestic and foreign-based producers increase their amount of production outside the U.S.

Hand tool demand is limited by the inherent durability of these products. Unlike power tools, common household tools such as hammers frequently outlive their owners, dampening replacement demand. In addition, product innovation is less common than in power tools, limiting opportunities for value gains. However, opportunities will result from the spread of more ergonomically designed tools. The rising number and average age of motor vehicles in the U.S. will boost gains for automotive hand tools since aftermarket repairs will become more common.

Growth in consumer tool demand will outpace the profession al market through 2009, due to the ongoing popularity of DIY activities and the trade -up by consumers to feature-laden power tools. Tool producers will continue to target this growing segment with a number of marketing approaches, including strategies aimed at women. Professionals use a greater variety of tools, most of which are also more expensive than those used by consumers. Since the construction industry comprises the largest portion of professional demand, gains will be limited by decelerating growth in construction expenditures.

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