Hardware Market Watch

Hardware Market Watch: Trends in Locks, Fasteners, Gate and Decorative Hardware in 2023

Apr 21, 2023

How do cus­tomers shop­ping for hard­ware behave, and what kind of projects do they under­take? What are their top prod­uct pref­er­ences? And, how does the state of the econ­o­my affect the hard­ware industry?

By div­ing deep into home improve­ment research, pro­fes­sion­als in the hard­ware indus­try can learn more about the effec­tive­ness of their cur­rent mar­ket­ing strate­gies, make bet­ter deci­sions about how to mar­ket and sell their prod­ucts, and ulti­mate­ly bring increased sales and rev­enue to their organization. 

From the rise of smart tech­nol­o­gy to the increas­ing demand for durable lock and gate hard­ware prod­ucts, we will explore the key dri­vers behind the hard­ware market’s growth and pre­dict how it will shape up in the years to come.

State of the Hardware Industry

The hard­ware indus­try has seen sub­stan­tial growth in recent years, both glob­al­ly and with­in the Unit­ed States. 

Con­sid­er these figures:

  • In 2022 alone, the Unit­ed States con­sumer hard­ware mar­ket grew 7.1% to a total of $19.6 billion.

  • Also in 2022, the Unit­ed States pro­fes­sion­al hard­ware mar­ket grew 7.3% to a total of $2.1 billion.

Among con­sumers, the hard­ware mar­ket is pre­dict­ed to con­tin­ue this momen­tum through 2023, peak­ing at $20.6 bil­lion for the con­sumer mar­ket before declin­ing by 2.5% in 2024 and recov­er­ing through 2027.

For the pro­fes­sion­al mar­ket, 2023 and 2024 con­tin­ue to look like strong years for seg­ment growth, with the cat­e­go­ry reach­ing $2.6 bil­lion in val­ue despite slow­er growth through 2027.

This presents a pos­i­tive out­look for hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers as the demand for these prod­ucts con­tin­ues. Hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers should be pre­pared to com­pete for shares of the mar­ket and cap­i­tal­ize on the growth oppor­tu­ni­ties that do still exist by stay­ing on top of bur­geon­ing trends.

Customer Decisions About Hardware

Data col­lect­ed by our researchers through the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute revealed that most of the prod­ucts in the hard­ware cat­e­go­ry are pur­chased for a planned repair/​replace rea­son (39%) or a planned add (24%), while 12% of pur­chas­es are part of a larg­er remod­el­ing project. Most instal­la­tions are made by home­own­ers, but pros still make up about a quar­ter of installations.

When it comes to instal­la­tion, con­sumers report valu­ing con­ve­nience (37%) and speed (28%) over cost (17%).

In light of this, man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers may want to focus on pro­mot­ing indi­vid­ual prod­ucts for spe­cif­ic needs rather than entire home ren­o­va­tion projects.

Hardware Purchaser Attitudes

Cus­tomer behav­ior varies, and man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers need to under­stand their cus­tomers’ atti­tudes at any giv­en time. HIRI research found that in 2022, top cus­tomer pri­or­i­ties were:

  • Dura­bil­i­ty (53%)

  • Qual­i­ty (45%)

  • Price (29%)

Because cus­tomers seem to val­ue prod­ucts that are long-last­ing, mar­ket­ing mes­sag­ing should focus on a product’s abil­i­ty to save home­own­ers from rou­tine main­te­nance. Inter­est­ing­ly, 68% of sur­vey respon­dents also said that they would be will­ing to pay more for prod­ucts made in the USA, so if this is applic­a­ble to your prod­ucts, include it in your marketing.

Additional attitudes of hardware category purchasers include:

  • I will make improve­ments to my home to be able to stay in my house as I age (75%).

  • I like to get as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about a new home improve­ment prod­uct before I buy it (70%).

  • I pre­fer one-stop shop­ping for my home improve­ment needs rather than going to sev­er­al dif­fer­ent stores (68%).

  • I buy home prod­ucts that help me main­tain a healthy home (68%).

Key insights?

  • Cater to aging homeowners.

  • Pro­vide excel­lent cus­tomer service.

  • Offer a range of products.

Hardware Purchaser Shopping Methods

HIRI research found that among pur­chasers of hard­ware prod­ucts, in-store shop­ping remains the dom­i­nant method (76%), fol­lowed by online (20%). Only 4% of pur­chas­es were made via mobile app.

How­ev­er, there are notable dif­fer­ences in chan­nel pref­er­ences depend­ing on the prod­uct cat­e­go­ry. For example:

  • Dec­o­ra­tive hard­ware has a high­er inci­dence of online pur­chas­es (29%) com­pared to in store (64%).

  • Gate hard­ware pur­chasers also include a sig­nif­i­cant group of ware­house mem­ber­ship shop­pers (7%), who pur­chase online and in person.

Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, home cen­ters are the go-to sup­pli­er for hard­ware pur­chas­es, with 68% pur­chas­ing through this channel.

Hardware Purchasing Preferences

Pur­chase inci­dence of hard­ware prod­ucts grew 5% from 2017 to 2021. Read on to dis­cov­er cus­tomer pref­er­ences by hard­ware category.

Decorative Door Hardware

Most pop­u­lar products:

  • Kick plate: 58.2%

  • Door knock­er: 35.0%

  • House num­ber: 31.5%

  • Mail slot: 11.4%

Most cus­tomers (82.5%) buy dec­o­ra­tive door hard­ware from home cen­ters, with 68.2% pre­fer­ring in-per­son pur­chas­es and 14.3% mak­ing online purchases.

Nails, Anchors and Screws

For tra­di­tion­al fas­ten­ers such as nails, anchors and screws, 82.3% of cus­tomers pre­fer prod­uct pack­ag­ing in sep­a­rate box­es or con­tain­ers, while 17.7% pre­fer to pur­chase kits. Car­ry­ing inven­to­ry sim­i­lar to these num­bers to meet the pref­er­ences of all shop­pers may be a good rule for your business.

Most pop­u­lar fas­ten­er application:

  • Wood: 71.6%

  • Dry­wall: 40.2%

  • Met­al: 9.8%

  • Con­crete, brick and block: 9.2%

Cus­tomers pre­fer to shop in per­son, with 80.4% of cus­tomers pre­fer­ring home cen­ters, 8.5% hard­ware stores and 4.4% department/​discount stores.

Gate Hardware

Gate hard­ware pur­chas­es increased by 280% from 2017 to 2021, reach­ing 4.8%. This increase may be due to the trend in out­door liv­ing and the grow­ing impor­tance of fenced-in backyards.

Most pop­u­lar products:

  • Gate hard­ware kits: 60.2%

  • Gate hinges: 39.3%

  • Gate latch­es: 31.0%

  • Gate han­dles: 25.5%

  • Gate drop rods: 15.3%

Although most gate hard­ware pur­chas­es occur at home cen­ters, 7.2% of cus­tomers pre­fer ware­house mem­ber­ships, both online and in person.

Doorknob and Lock Sets

For door­knob and lock sets, cus­tomers pre­fer clas­sic styles with a stan­dard keyed exterior.

Most pop­u­lar styles:

  • Clas­sic: 53.7%

  • Mod­ern: 32.6%

  • Rus­tic: 10.0%

  • Antique: 3.7%

Most pop­u­lar exte­ri­or features:

  • Stan­dard keyed: 78.8%

  • Remoteless/​keyless: 11.8%

  • Smart/​connected: 4.5%

  • Bio­met­ric (fin­ger­print) fea­tures: 3.3%.

  • Keyless/​digital with remote: 1.7%

Although a major­i­ty of cus­tomers still pre­fer the tra­di­tion­al keyed lock, there is a grow­ing inter­est in key­less and smart-lock fea­tures, as well as bio­met­ric options. Hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers should take note of this trend and con­sid­er the ris­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of con­nect­ed fea­tures to meet chang­ing con­sumer demands.

Looking Ahead: A Rise in Smart Hardware

The future per­for­mance of the home improve­ment hard­ware mar­ket is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict, as it will be influ­enced by many fac­tors, includ­ing eco­nom­ic con­di­tions, con­sumer behav­ior and tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments. How­ev­er, recent research has point­ed to a rise in demand in the smart-apart­ment mar­ket, which could expe­dite the devel­op­ment of con­nect­ed tech­nol­o­gy such as smart locks and touch-less hardware.

Think back to 2020: COVID-19 prompt­ed many prop­er­ty man­agers to imple­ment con­nect­ed tech­nol­o­gy. Smart locks and oth­er touch-less expe­ri­ences are still in demand, and as com­pe­ti­tion increas­es, pur­pose­ful hard­ware, soft­ware and part­ner­ships will become a pri­ma­ry dif­fer­en­tia­tor among smart-apart­ment plat­forms. HIRI part­ner Omdia expects top smart-apart­ment plat­forms to offer their own hard­ware such as locks and ther­mostats to cre­ate a tru­ly inte­grat­ed plat­form. As such, the piece­meal approach to smart-apart­ment hard­ware will begin to fade, while the most suc­cess­ful brands will offer an end-to-end solution.

What does this mean for your brand? If you are hop­ing to pen­e­trate the smart-hard­ware mar­ket, it may be best to approach this through a part­ner­ship with oth­er smart-home brands who can help inte­grate your tech­nol­o­gy into a more full-ser­vice plat­form. The smart-home and smart-apart­ment indus­try will be much larg­er than hard­ware, and brands that offer a full pack­age with the least tech­no­log­i­cal headache will be the most successful.

Stay On Top of Market Changes

HIRI works day in and out to pro­vide the most cur­rent mar­ket fore­casts to help indus­try pro­fes­sion­als make informed deci­sions. Every full report and raw data file list­ed in this arti­cle is acces­si­ble to HIRI members.

Need to stay up to date on the mar­ket forces impact­ing the hard­ware cat­e­go­ry and oth­er home improve­ment prod­uct seg­ments? Join HIRI as a mem­ber for instant access to new research.

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