Power tools by the numbers

There’s nothing like a new power tool display to draw the attention of the average mid- to high-testosterone do-it-yourselfer. But how do consumers shop by channel? And what drives their decisions and their purchases? Recent consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group shows “trusted brand” still ranks No. 1 as the reason for purchase.

Channel analysis

BREAKDOWN OF TOTAL POWER TOOL SALES BY CHANNEL (DOLLAR SHARE)

Channel 2008 2009 2010
WHC 56.1% 57.2% 61.0%
Dept. stores 11.7 14.6 12.0
Mass merchants 10.2 8.4 7.7
Specialty stores 6.2 5.4 6.5
Hardware stores 5.7 5.1 6.1
Other 4.0 3.5 3.1

Analysis: The survey covered combo power tool kits, electric saws, drills, sanders, air-powered tools, rotary tools and electric staplers. For the most part, each product fell in line with the channel breakdown above, with some exceptions. For instance, hardware stores had a 12.5% dollar share of sanders, compared with a 6.1% share for all power tools. Also, combo-power tool kits are a sweet spot for the big boxes at 63.5% dollar share.

Purchase motivators

REASON RETAILER SHOPPED

Reason Electric Saw Drill
Price 43.9% 42.3%
Brand/selection 25.1 24.3
Close to home 19.2 20.3
Availability 11.8 13.1

Analysis: The power of “trusted brand” as a reason for purchase came as somewhat of a surprise, according to Matt Fortsch, researcher for NPD. “When the economy declined, we expected that price was going to be the driving force behind these purchases. But it’s quality brand that ranks first,” he said. “Of course, people still want it at a good price.” Behind the scenes, the use of the Internet has surpassed store visits as the No. 1 research method, he added.

Demographic analysis

2010 TOTAL POWER TOOL SALES BY AGE GROUP (UNIT SALES)

Age group Total Electric saw Drill
18-34 31.8% 27.3% 33.8%
35-44 21.5 22.7 21.3
45-54 22.9 26.1 22.1
55-64 15.4 15.4 14.0
65+ 8.4 8.5 8.8

2010 POWER TOOL PAINT SALES BY INCOME BRACKET


Income group WHCs Hardware stores Mass
Under $15k 10.7% 15.8% 21.3%
$15k-$30k 14.7 23.0 25.0
$30k-$45k 13.4 15.3 15.5
$45k-$60k 15.8 13.9 13.4
$60k-$75k 11.6 11.6 8.6
$75k-$100k 13.8 6.4 8.2
$100k-$150k 13.9 9.1 5.6
$150k+ 6.1 5.1 2.3

Analysis: The youngest (18 to 34) demographic is more likely to buy drills than any other power tool, and is also more likely than the other age groups listed above to buy any power tool at all. In the warehouse home center channel, however, the 45 to 54 age group accounted for the largest increase in sales. This group also had the largest increase in mass merchant power tool sales, according to NPD research.

Methodolgy: NPD data are based on a monthly tracking of nearly 70 categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers. The 2010 data above come from the 12 months ended Aug. 31, 2010.