Every year, I hear the same complaint, about how stores have the same Black Friday tool deals as the previous year.
This happens every year.
Well, yes – maybe 80% of the tool deals are repeats from the previous year.
Here at ToolGuyd, I try to focus on the new, different, or especially good holiday tool deals. Behind the scenes, a lot of the questions and requests I receive mirror similar ones from previous years. Every year, many readers are shopping for the same deals.
I saw heaps of unsold inventory last year, and there are signs that the same will happen this year. We’re just a week into December, and I’ll be checking local home centers again in the middle of the month and at the very end of the year.
There are different reasons why they could be happening. Personally, I think it’s partly because many users are making online purchases earlier in the season, but there could be other factors.
Even so “they’ve got the same deals as last year and every year” is a popular and frequent complaint.
But, retailers stock a lot of the same deals deliberately – because they sell well. Or, maybe because they’re heavily incentivized to do so.
There’s one brand that has had in-store deals at Home Depot for a couple of years now, and they NEVER sell well. It’s the same deals every year, and they just sit there. If not for examples like that at Home Depot and Lowe’s, I’d point to sales performance as the sole motivating factor.
Some readers have the idea that everyone has all of the core tools they need. That’s not true.
Consider a new flavor of ice cream – mango sprinkle surprise. Nobody has tried this flavor before, and so its potential for interest and demand is huge.
What about a new vanilla ice cream? How many people have never tried vanilla ice cream before? How many people are interested in trying a new kind? There’s smaller potential for interest and demand here. But, there’s still going to be interest and demand.
Think about this – every year there are x-number of people who try vanilla ice cream for the first time.
Let’s say that every user that is looking to buy a new ladder, shop vac, $99 cordless drill kit, mechanics tool set, or what-not buys one this year. Next year, there will be a new group of users and potential shoppers looking to make the same purchases.
If a brand comes out with a new cordless drill, there are two types of potential end users – those looking to upgrade, and those looking to buy their first cordless drill. Take away the upgraders, and there’s still a large number of potential buyers.
“They’re too late to market.”
ToughBuilt recently launched a new modular storage system. Makita filed patent applications for a system of their own. Are they later introductions? Yes. Too late? No.
If everybody who is thinking about buying into a modular tool box system does so, there’s going to be a new group of tool users who will be shopping for the same next year.
Something that does things in a new way – mango sprinkle surprise – can potentially interest new customers.
Fads come and go, and there are cyclic fads in the tool world, with dog bone wrenches as a good example.
But there are also constant and repeated needs.
All of you might have plenty of cordless drills. But what about a new apprentice? A new DIYer? Someone that just took up woodworking? A graduate moving to their first apartment? Newly weds moving into a home?
There is ALWAYS demand for cordless drill kits.
Stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon know exactly how much they sell of every Black Friday or holiday deal each year.
As mentioned, while seemingly not the sole factor, don’t you think that they’d change things up if there’s a noticeable drop in interest or demand?
Planning for the next holiday season comes around, and they’ll tell their suppliers to ship something different.
In recent years, readers asked me to be on the lookout for cordless nailer deals. We’ve been seeing more and more. This year, Dewalt, Metabo HPT, Milwaukee, and Ryobi all had cordless nailer promos.
There’s interest in cordless power tools that don’t involve a drill or impact driver. We have that this year, and quite a few of them.
If I were in charge of planning and buying at a large home center, would I do things differently? Absolutely. But, I wouldn’t change much about the core deals that we see every year.
A good portion of holiday tool deals are absolutely boring. I wouldn’t buy them, and you wouldn’t buy them.
Amazon sold huge numbers of this old brushed motor drill kit last month. WHY? Dewalt has at least 3 better brushless drill kits at the same promo price right now.
I cannot fathom why anyone would buy this drill kit anymore when better options exist at the same price point. But they do. This drill suits the needs and wants of many people.
Are you bored with the Black Friday and holiday deals you see? What are you looking to buy? Nothing? That’s great. But every year there are people looking to buy new tools. While the number might rise and fall, they’re always there.
And, with Black Friday and holiday deals well tracked and documented, a lot of people wait. If there’s something they want but don’t immediately need, they wait. Or, maybe there’s something they could use, but don’t realize it.
These Engineer scissors are awesome. I bought my first one more than 10 years ago, and I think it’s great that they’re more widely available and lower priced today. Amazon has it for less than $18.
I’ve mentioned these compact scissors before. And almost every time, at least one reader buys a pair.
Others might say “I’ve got plenty of scissors already, thank you.”
That’s cool – you can store them in a tool box like this one. It’s made in the USA and Amazon has it for $4.98 again right now.
Most regular readers will be thinking “you’ve already posted about these.” Yes, but I can almost guarantee that someone will think “ooh,” and buy one at the spot. That’s how Black Friday and holiday deals work – there’s ALWAYS interest and demand.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I might buy another tool box to fill with the Engineer scissors and other tools as part of a cousin’s graduation gift.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve put together a minimalist college or new apartment tool kit for anyone. I might have to update that post. The first thing I’ll change is the tool box, from this one that’s hard to find, the larger one shown above.
With fads, such as mango sprinkle surprise, or say fidget spinners or tops, there’s a limited marketable period after which interest runs its course.
But there’s always going to be demand for core tools, and that’s why we see similar Black Friday and holiday tool deals every year.
If you want to see a different type of promo, say so! The reality is that brands and retailers are less likely to discount tools that you’re going to buy anyway. We might see some discounts or promo bundles in highly competitive spaces. But no business is going to cut their profits if they’re going to make the same sale anyway.
When is the last time you’ve seen sale pricing or promo bundles on Rubbermaid garbage cans? Milk? Metalworking lathes? Horizontal band saw blades? Hammer breaker points or chisels?
Has your internet services provider ever given you a discount, aside from when you first signed up? Your water company?
It is absolutely valid to be bored with Black Friday and holiday tool deals. I try my best to talk about ones readers might find particularly interesting.
I’m not in the market for a new cordless drill, and many if not most readers are in the same boat. But every year, there are questions – “have you seen any particularly good cordless drill deals.” Usually it’s more like “which is the best drill deal, and should I buy now or wait?”
The deals that we see and don’t see will have deep impact across the industry.
At Home Depot, Dewalt has a cordless drill deal, Milwaukee has a cordless drill deal, Makita does NOT have a cordless drill deal. Dewalt has PowerStack deals, Milwaukee has Forge deals, Makita doesn’t have anything new.
Dremel has nothing new for 2023, except for a new version of their cordless cleaning tool that’s bundled with Scrub Daddy pads. This was at Lowe’s, I didn’t see any Dremel promos at Home Depot.
Home Depot has a display with Ryobi battery-powered DIY and hobby tools at Home Depot, including rotary tools and a “scrubber tool kit.”
Dremel doesn’t have any promo footprint at Home Depot, and it doesn’t look like they’re getting much attention at Lowe’s. The display at my store is in a rear aisle placement, and it was looking as full as this Ryobi display from a month ago.
My Home Depot stores sold through ALL of their Milwaukee copper pipe cutter and adjustable wrench sets.
Lowe’s has SIX different hammer promo displays – 2 Craftsman and 4 Kobalt.
Home Depot’s Milwaukee hammer deals never appear to sell well, but they don’t take up much space, and they tend to change things up year to year.
There is a LOT that I would change if I were in charge of tool deals and promos. But the boring “ugh, they have this every year and I don’t care!” types of deals are repeated for a reason.
I am a little tired of hearing the same complaint over and over, but do NOT stop. Things get interesting when the people in charge change things up.
Let’s say you have the ears and attention of the people in charge of these tool promos and arrangements – what do you want to see next year?