Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Howland, Richard H., -1990||Nelson, J. H. (Professor of business)

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Marketing


Power tools


This investigation surveyed the development of the portable electric tool industry from 1957 through 1966. When available, 1967 and 1968 data were also used in order to present the most current market information. This development covered: (1) the recent growth of the industry, (2) the size and scope of the market areas, (3) the identification of the companies and their interaction in the industry, and (4) the effect of the portable pneumatic tool industry on the portable electric tool industry. In establishing the growth and development of this industry and the markets it serves, the major data sources used were the United States Department of Commerce, annual reports, trade journals, and personal interviews. The portable electric tool industry has grown at an average rate of eight per cent each year since 1957. In 1966 industry sales were almost $300 million with twenty companies actively serving the domestic market. There are five major market areas with each having its own characteristics and growth pattern. The manufacturing plant market has held a steady demand for portable electric tools because of rising wage levels necessitating these labor-saving devices. A similar area has been the automotive assembly and repair market with productivity, efficiency, and convenience being reasons for a ten to twelve per cent annual growth rate in power tool sales. The construction market has had the lowest degree of growth due to the modest home building advances in the mid-1960's. The best selling area is the do-it-yourself consumer market which has experienced rapid growth because of the high cost of repair work and increased leisure time. The last major area is the service trade market, with sales advancing slowly due to the decreasing number of trained professionals per population sector. Of the twenty companies in the industry, the top ten control almost ninety per cent of the sales volume. The Black & Decker Manufacturing Company leads the industry with approximately a twenty-five per cent share of the market. These twenty companies have thirty-two manufacturing plants in the United States, but not one facility is located in the western half of the nation. The industry has found a growth area in exports with the Western European markets growing at a faster rate than the domestic markets. Nine of the twenty companies also produce portable pneumatic tools, which appears to indicate that air tools, in most cases, complement electric tools rather than compete with them. Specifically, the long term prospects for continued growth in the portable electric tool industry are enhanced by: (1) the continuing development of new and improved products, (2) the rising number of automobiles and machines in use which create a growing market for repair tools, (3) the rising wage rates for contractors and a consequent desire to reduce hand labor, and (4) the high cost of repair work which has fostered the do-it-yourself trend.


Includes bibliographical references.


3, vii, 85 pages




Northern Illinois University

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