U.S. Demand for Hand Tools to Approach $5.8 Billion

September 2016

U.S. demand for hand tools is forecast to grow 1.7 percent per annum through 2020 to $5.8 billion. Between 2010 and 2015, sales rebounded from the poor performance of the previous five years, and sales will continue to advance at a steady rate going forward. Ongoing strength in construction activity, especially housing starts and residential improvements and repairs, will promote sales to both professional and consumer markets. Continued growth in the motor vehicle park will support gains in the automotive repair market, and an expanding number of households and ongoing interest in DIY activities will boost consumer hand-tool sales. Competition from power tools, which are becoming increasingly more affordable, will restrain faster gains. Advances in dollar terms will be limited somewhat by competition from imports, which often offer consumers a lower cost alternative to domestic products. These and other trends are presented in “Hand Tools,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
    
In a continuation of recent trends, parts and attachments, handsaws, multitools and precision measuring tools will post the fastest demand gains through 2020. Sales of these products will be supported by ongoing strength in construction expenditures. The increasing stock of hand tools, buoyed by higher sales in 2014 and 2015, will promote sales of replacement parts and attachments. According to analyst E. Reta Sober, “Advances in residential improvement spending and in the number of housing starts will boost handsaw sales, while multitools will benefit from their space and weight savings as well as versatility.”
    
Hand service tools, the single largest hand tool category, will record the slowest sales advances through 2020 due to their high level of market penetration, as well as their durability and longevity. Nevertheless, due to their widespread use across professional and consumer applications, hand service tools will account for the largest share of demand growth through 2020 in value terms. Technological advances that improve the durability, usability or ergonomics of hand service tools will help fuel sales.