Few product categories are as closely associated with old-school artisanship as the handsaw. Low-tech, but high utility, the handsaw category is male dominated and relatively stable. The average price of a handsaw purchased by consumers from July 2007 to June 2008 was $16.10, up slightly from the previous year, according to data collected by Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group.
Analysis: Warehouse home centers made modest gains in both unit share and dollar share—both gains seem to be at the expense of the department stores. The mass channel does much better in hammers, the other tool staple, with 29 percent unit share. This is probably because anyone can use a hammer, but a handsaw is usually involved in more complicated projects by more serious DIYers.
CHANNEL BREAKDOWN BY GENDER (UNIT SHARE)
Analysis: The most female-friendly channel is the mass channel, where 32.2 percent of saws were purchased. On the other end of the spectrum, hardware stores showed only a 19.1 percent female purchase rate.
Analysis: Pull saws weren’t tracked in 2007 but have generated a significant market share in 2008. “Even in what could be considered a common, fully evolved category, we do see some innovation with the Japanese-style pull saws,” said Mark Delaney, NPD Group’s director of home improvement. “They’re already tracking at almost 5 percent share within a year—that is pretty impressive.” The basic “panel saw” gained on its position, up 1.6 percentage points in dollar share, though it declined slightly in unit share.
Analysis: Store personnel scored a 4.1 percent mark as a reason for purchase overall. But in the hardware store channel, the figure jumped to 10.1 percent. The dramatic difference reveals the importance of one-on-one interaction in hardware stores. In the WHC channel, store personnel scored 3.6 percent, compared to 1.4 percent in the mass channel and 1.0 percent in the department store channel.
Methodolgy NPD data is based on monthly tracking of nearly 70 categories, to 30,000 opt-in consumers. The 2008 data above reflects the period July 2007 to June 2008.
Around the Web: Obama tackles housing market
The Barack Obama administration started a temporary program to boost state and local housing finance agencies (HFAs). The purpose of the program is to spur lending and buying in a depressed housing market.
“Through this initiative, the administration aims to help HFAs jumpstart new lending to borrowers who might not otherwise be served and to better support the financing costs of their current programs,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a prepared statement.
True Value fall market held in Atlanta
When True Value president and CEO Lyle Heidemann addressed co-op members at the opening session of the 2008 fall market Oct. 17 in Atlanta, he stressed the importance of Destination True Value — encouraging retailers to adopt the new, more consumer friendly store format in one form or another.
“Much of our future is centered on Destination True Value, both for our existing stores as well as our growth with new ones,” Heidemann told the group assembled at the Georgia World Congress Center. “This year we will open, expand, relocate, convert or remodel more than 100 stores to the new format. In addition, another 75 stores will implement the DTV decor package.”
The point hit home with show attendees Kurt and Kathie Stringham, owners of Stringham’s True Value in Santaquin, Utah, which will undergo a DTV remodel starting next month. “Our sales are down this quarter, but we’re not pessimistic,” Kathie Stringham said. “I’m not sure about the economy, but for hardware stores, if you’re wise you can still do well.”
Carol Wentworth, vp-marketing, also addressed members at the opening session, trying to drive home the importance of national and local advertising in these tough economic times. She said stores that participated in three spring circular programs saw a 7 percent increase in sales and an average of $45,000 more in revenue during the spring season than stores that didn’t use the promotions.
“I think those numbers tell a pretty compelling story about using circulars to help you get ready for the spring selling season,” Wentworth said.
More than 1,000 vendors are introducing new items and offering market-only deals on merchandise from every major product category. Retailers attending the market will also have an opportunity to attend educational classes on everything from merchandising and marketing best practices to the True Value Rewards program and leveraging point-of-sale technology.
The market is open through Oct. 20.