US Hand Tools
Demand for hand tools is expected to grow less than 1.0% per year to $6.8 billion in 2027, as unit sales decline and price growth moderates. The market for these products grew substantially in 2021 as pandemic-related trends supported strong gains in both the consumer and professional markets. Furthermore, price inflation as a result of ongoing supply chain issues and higher raw material prices offset declines in real terms in 2022, creating a high base and limiting growth prospects through the forecast.
Going forward, the hand tool industry is expected to face similar pre-pandemic restraints, including market maturity, long product lifecycles, and limited innovation. However, growth in key indicators will allow suppliers to maintain elevated levels of demand.
Professional Market Boosted by Macroeconomic Trends, but Labor Issues Remain a Concern
Demand for hand tools in the professional market will see some growth through 2027, supported by rising levels of construction and manufacturing activity, and an increase in the number of motor vehicles in use. However, hand tool sales continue to be negatively impacted by a shortage of skilled labor in a wide range of professions, which restricts the ability of entities to complete projects or increase output. In some industries, such as construction, it is common for professionals to own their own tool set, so any labor shortage limits the base of potential hand tool customers.
Imports Continue to Account for a Larger Share of Demand
In 2022, the share of demand met by imports reached 60%, a high for the industry and representing a decades-long trend toward hand tools being produced overseas. Despite efforts to put the US on more level footing with foreign producers in recent years, imports have continued to grow. Following tariffs levied on an array of hand tools from China, companies have looked to other foreign sources to produce and import hand tools rather than onshoring that production to the US. This trend is expected to continue, albeit at a slower rate as the supply chain issues that occurred during the pandemic illuminated the potential problems that can arise from not sourcing products domestically. However, US-made hand tools are expected to continue to maintain a significant position in the global market, supporting demand from both domestic and foreign end users.
This Freedonia industry study analyzes the $6.7 billion US hand tool industry. It presents historical demand data (2012, 2017 and 2022) and forecasts (2027 and 2032). Annual data from 2019-2026 is also presented. Tools purchased as a part of a tool set are included in each individual product category. Hand tool product categories encompass:
- hand service tools (specialized automotive tools such as airbag deployment tools, distributor clamp wrenches, lug wrenches, manual and hydraulic automobile jacks, muffler chisels, and seal replacers; wrenches; pliers; screwdrivers; hammers; and other hand service tools such as sledges, picks, mauls, nail pullers, clamps, caulking guns, and miscellaneous carpentry tools)
- edge tools (paint and masonry tools such as glasscutters, patching knives, putty knives, scrapers, spackling knives, taping knives, utility knives, and wallpaper strippers; chisels and gouges; and axes, adzes, and hatchets)
- hand saws
- other hand tools such as augers, files, levels, measuring tapes, multitools, planers, professional staplers, rasps, and tampers
- parts and attachments such as replacement handles for hand tools, repair pieces for hand tools, replacement nosepieces and jaws for hand tools, saw blades, and screwdriver bit sets
The markets for hand tools are:
- Professional (construction, automotive aftermarket, and industrial and other professional)
The distribution channels covered in the study are:
- Home centers
- Direct sales and distributors
- Hardware stores
- Mass marketers
The study also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis on industry competitors including Apex Tool, Channellock, Enerpac, Estwing, Emerson, Great Neck, Great Star, Klein Tools, Leatherman, Snap-On, Stanley Black & Decker, Techtronic Industries, and Vontier.