Operative word from NPD research: 'Improving"

Port Washington, N.Y.-based researching firm The NPD Group reported that "pent-up demand" in the home improvement sector is on the rise and should help an industry recovery.

“There are signs of cautious optimism out there, especially among younger consumers, but price is still king," said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group's home division. "Clearly, pent-up demand is rising, and home improvement should help lead us in the recovery.”

The outlook for future DIY home improvement purchases is improving, according to the group's recent research. The company's Economy Tracker shows fewer people are planning to defer home improvement purchases -- declining by 10 points year over year (three months ending Oct. 2010). Deferment is declining fastest among younger consumers.

Fewer people have deferred purchases over the last 12 months; however, this has increased among older consumers.

Regardless of age, consumers are looking for price and convenience when it comes to deciding which retailer to shop at for their hand tool purchases.

The company's Consumer Tracking Service shows the following sales levels for the year ended October 2009 through September 2010:

• Wrenches: $363 million • Screwdrivers: $185 million • Hammers: $174 million

According to the 2010 Beyond the Boomers report, younger consumers, specifically those in Generation Y, show more opportunity for the hand tools market, with fewer items already owned, and a higher propensity for purchase, according to NPD Group.

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