Portable tools sales are significantly impacted by macroeconomic factors, most notably, GDP, urbanization, economic growth, and industry value. According to OECD, world real GDP has shown a consistent surge since 2016, and the ascendancy is likely to be sustained in the long run. According to United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs, 68% of world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, up from 55% currently. The direct co-relation between macroeconomic growth and portable tools sales is likely to augur well for the stakeholders in this market. The steadiness in automotive sales, especially in North America and Asia Pacific, and the long-term positive outlook on the automotive industry is likely to create opportunities for portable tool manufacturers. Growth in automotive sales directly impacts investments in repair and maintenance tools, especially among garage owners.
Rising raw material costs and intense fragmentation continue to create challenges
Rising raw material costs are eating into the profit margins of portable tool manufacturers. The impact of rising raw material prices is widespread, as entire supply chains are plunged into uncertainty. Rising cost of nickel cadmium and mercury substitutes has had a mitigating effect on cordless power tools in particular. The challenges are compounded owing to the intense fragmentation in the portable tools market, with Asia Pacific in particular witnessing proliferation of new entrants.
Regulations on occupational safety fuel adoption
Government mandates pertaining to occupational health safety continue to fuel adoption of personal protective equipment. The adoption is particularly impressive in industries where workers are at relatively higher risk. Increasing awareness on the importance of personal protective equipment, combined with growing preference towards efficient and low-maintenance products continue to induce momentum in the market.
Increasing automation in industrialized nations and lack of DIY ethic in emerging nations pose challenges
The next industrial revolution is underway, and entire processes and operational models are being transformed. Growing investments in automation have meant that spending on portable tools has dried up. While automation emerges as a key challenge for portable tool manufacturers in developed nations, lack of DIY ethic in emerging countries has led to fewer opportunities. Although the broader outlook on the portable tools market through 2026 remains positive, portable tools industry can face severe challenges when automation becomes pervasive.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) – top-selling portable tools globally
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is the most lucrative segment, with an estimated one-third revenue share of the market. Stringency in occupational safety regulations, combined with increasing awareness on the importance of worker safety are driving adoption of personal protection equipment among end users. Among the various types of PPE available in the market, demand is highest for foot and leg protection equipment. Power tools are the second largest category in terms of revenue share, driven by shifting preference away from hand tools. Impact drivers are the top-selling power tools, with impact wrench a close second.
Demand from industrial sector higher than commercial sector
Demand for portable tools from industrial sector is higher than commercial sector. Portable tools, such as power tools, personal protective equipment, and garage equipment witness higher demand in a range of industries. High demand for lighting tools and hand tools is witnessed among commercial and household & DIY users. The pace of adoption of new and innovative technologies is slower in commercial applications vis-à-vis industrial applications, owing to which the industrial segment is likely to maintain its lucrativeness in the long run.
Retail outlets largest sales channel, ‘online’ gaining market share
Online sales are eating into the revenue share of retail outlets and distributors, promoting the latter to make a foray into the e-commerce segment. Online sales growth is likely to be 1.2X than distributor sales. There are certain categories of products specifically suited to online sales. These include portable tools, lighting tools, and power tools. Although online channels have been well-received by end users in North America and Europe, emerging nations have significant growth potential.
The portable tools landscape remains highly fragmented, with only a few market leaders accounting for significant revenue share. Considering the nature of the market, local players/regional players have a sizeable presence, especially in developing regions. Among the market leaders, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. has nearly 6.5% to 7% market share from portable tools. Robert Bosch GmbH has nearly 4.7% to 5% revenue share from portable tools.