Older consumers buying power tools

Results just released from an NPD Group study indicates that consumers ages 65 and over accounted for 30% more in power tool sales and 16% more in outdoor power equipment sales in the 12 months ending March 2011 than they did in the previous year. 

The next age group, 45 years and up, accounted for 11% more in hand tool purchases in the same 12-month period than they did the previous year. 

Overall, this past winter was a successful one when it came to snow thrower/blower sales. Unit sales of snow throwers/blowers grew 6% in the 12 months ending March 2011, compared with the same time last year.

Electric staplers and brad nailers grew 7% in unit sales in the 12 months ending March 2011. Sales for wrenches increased 7% between April 2010 and March 2011.

Of the hand tools sold between April 2010 and March 2011, 19% were purchased in the mass and warehouse club channels, while the specialty channel (which includes lumber/building supply, outdoor power equipment stores, Agway, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon.com) grew by 7% in unit sales during this time frame. In power tools, 9% sold between April 2010 and March 2011 were purchased online. For outdoor power equipment, the number was 7%.

“It usually comes down to filling a need,” said Peter Goldman, president of NPD’s home division. “Mother Nature provides an excessive amount of snow, the economy drives consumers to do-it-yourself, a redistribution of discretionary income occurs with aging consumers who are looking to simplify their DIY projects, and therefore, we begin to see sales.” 

Explaining the rise in Internet purchasing, Goldman said: “The interesting thing to watch is the increases in online sales, which is not as surprising when consumers are telling us they are spending more time researching their purchases, and the Internet makes this easy for them. But it is [interesting] when growth is occurring among more large items like outdoor power equipment.”

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