BHETA comment: 'As sales go up we need to speed up'

Power tools volumes and values rose in 2016 – Paul Grinsell, BHETA’s Home Enhancement Director, provides his view on that and more…

According to the latest figures from GfK, the most popular home and lifestyle aspirations for the average consumer are better storage space and improving their indoor dimensions and layout. Whether as a DIY project or with the employment of a professional tradesman, the good news is that there is still an appetite for home improvement. At risk of stating the obvious, this has also got to be good news for all suppliers and retailers of the tools to do the job.

These latest figures follow hard on the heels of GfK’s EPOS generated statistics about power tools, which very much confirm this positive trend. Sales volumes of power tools increased by 3.1% and value growth of 1.1% in 2016. Most of the key segments within the tools market performed well, with electric screw drivers and benchtop tools achieving double digit growth on last year. Saws, sanders and minitools follow closely behind, each recording upwards of 5% growth. Only the drills category, which accounts for over 40% of power tool sales, saw a downturn. Total drills suffered a 4% value decline as a result of an overall drop in average prices and fewer sales of cordless products.

Though power tools are still predominantly an in-store purchase – online sales continue to gain momentum. Online value share has risen to 19% which represents an uplift of 28% compared to 2015 and this is likely to continue as more consumers prefer the product and price transparency that shopping online provides, as well as time saving benefits. Discussing online and offline sales as if they were two opposed channels is not a true reflection of what is happening in reality, however. It is omni-channel shopping that is really making the difference as it becomes ever more embedded in the purchasing journey. Researching online and buying instore; researching instore and buying online – both are being increasingly replaced by a more sophisticated combination of the two channels simultaneously thanks to the ubiquitous smartphone. Moreover, in whichever environment the actual purchase takes place, GfK’s EPOS data shows the need for both suppliers and retailers to speed up, rather than slow down the consumers’ time in the sales environment, if sales revenue is to be maximised.

Just as it is true that the fewer the number of clicks required, the more the customer spends online, it is also true that the faster the bricks and mortar shopper shops, the more the customer spends instore. The key to driving up the value of the sales achieved is improving the efficiency of the ‘trip’ and reducing the time taken up. The most important thing for purchasers is that the whole purchase experience is seamless, simple and speedy.

BHETA, the British Home Enhancement Trade Association is a trade association for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors in the DIY, Housewares, Garden and Home Improvement markets. For more information about BHETA membership visit