With Li-Ion tools being out in North America for over a year now I think its time to take a look back and see how it went. What has been selling well, and what has not.
First a disclaimer, this article by no means is reflecting on the actual quality of any of the products, just the sale history in my geographical area (West Coast Canada, Vancouver Area). I fully realize that other geographical areas may have completely different sales track records, which I would find very interesting to look at also. In fact, I would love to hear some of Brian’s comments on how things are going in his part of the world.
First a little history. As we all know, Milwaukee Power Tools was the the first to introduce Lithium Ion Technology in North America with their V28 line, and they did so with a big splash. However, they had a very hard time keeping production up with the demand of the product because they couldn’t make the batteries fast enough. What happened then is America gobbled up all the available product for about the first 8 months, which meant Milwaukee Canada simply had no units available for the northern distributors.
By the time we finally got Milwaukee Li-Ion Products, Makita LXT showed up that same week, which was early January 2006. We made a very impressive display for both, having them side by side. On one side we had the larger, more powerful, more expensive 28v Milwaukee tools, and on the other side we had the more ergonomic, lighter, compact and less expensive 18v Makita tools.
What happened? Makita 18v Li-Ion so far has completely out sold the Milwaukee 28v tools to the point where our stores will no longer be stocking the 28v series on a regular basis. It seemed the paying customer preferred less expensive lightweight ergonomic tools over the impressive brute power of the bigger tools.
When the Bosch 10.8v pocket drivers arrived they to had very good response. The first 50 we got lasted barely a month. Dewalt 36v arrived shortly afterward, and has had very moderate positive response so far.
Right now, it looks like the consumer is leaning towards lighter, compact tools over the big heavy power houses. Milwaukee and Hitachi 18v Li-Ion has also just arrived into stock, but haven’t been around here long enough to analyze the demand for them. I would like to know how other areas are responding to the Li-Ion tools. If anyone has information on the subject I would like to hear about it.
Article submitted by Chris of KMS Tools.