The tool distribution market grew by 8% in 2014 as a result of higher levels of construction and RMI activity, according to new industry figures.
According to AMA Research, demand for power tools (an estimated 50-55% share of the market) has benefited from product innovation such as lithium-ion battery and brushless motor tools, which has helped drive sales.
Hand tools has remained a steady sector, while performance in the garden tools sector is heavily influenced by the weather in any given year, with 2014 a relatively good year, though performance in 2015 has been less buoyant.
Digital technology is driving a change in buying behaviour in this sector, with the internet and, in particular, the use of mobile devices among tradesmen, becoming increasingly important, according to AMA.
The internet has prompted a change in buying behaviour, with an increase in the use of ‘click and collect’ facilities that encourages people to visit stores, and leading to an increase in sales via trade counters. Social media is also gaining in importance for both promotional messages and customer feedback, assisting in growing direct sales.
The tool market is forecast to continue growing in 2015, say AMA, with steady underlying growth of around 3-4% per annum forecast in the medium term, providing the construction and home improvement markets remain reasonably buoyant.
“The future of the tools distribution market mix will depend on channel response to the opportunities and threats posed by the evolving distribution landscape and how quickly they respond to them,” said Andrew Hartley, director of AMA Research.
“Over the past 2-3 years there has also been some consolidation within key distribution channels and this is likely to continue for the duration of the forecast period.”