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Power and hand tool demand in the United States is forecast to increase 3.3 percent annually through 2012, reaching $14.5 billion. Although difficult in the shorter term, the U.S. construction outlook is expected to recover by 2012, creating demand in the professional sector. In the meantime, consumer demand will benefit from continued interest in DIY and home remodeling activities. Ongoing introduction of new products – especially improved cordless tools – will create gains in both markets. These and other trends are presented in Power & Hand Tools, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Growth in consumer tool demand will outpace that of the professional segment, benefitting from the ongoing popularity of do-it-yourself activities and the trade-up by consumers to feature-laden power tools. The U.S. mortgage crisis will compel many homeowners to remain in their current homes, thereby boosting home remodeling and repair activity. A growing number of women have become interested in DIY activities, as evidenced by Web sites and classes geared toward this group.
Although the professional market will grow more slowly than the consumer market, professional users will continue to account for the majority of overall tool demand through 2012. The construction sector will post the best gains through 2012, reflecting an expected recovery in housing starts. In addition, the aging U.S. housing stock will boost demand for contractors in remodeling and repair jobs. The automotive aftermarket sector will benefit from the growing number and average age of vehicles in use. As some consumers forgo buying a new car, this will increase demand for automotive repairs. The industrial sector, however, will be dampened by declining employment as a greater portion of the population becomes employed in the services sector.
Maintaining established trends, power tool demand is forecast to outpace hand tool demand due to the continuing popularity of cordless electric products such as saws, sanders and screwdrivers. Hand tool demand is limited by the inherent durability of these products. Common household tools such as hammers frequently outlive their owners, dampening replacement demand.
Cordless products will continue to post the best gains, benefitting not only from macroeconomic factors but from their performance advantages vis-a-vis plug-in models. The development of improved battery technology, such as lithium-ion chemistry, has encouraged both consumers and professionals to use cordless technology.