Harbor Freight trying to go upmarket. Why?

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  • Harbor Freight trying to go upmarket. Why?

    This might seem like a dumb question, but I have always seen Harbor Freight as a source of decent quality, but not fancy tools. Stuff to the get the job done lacking in spit and polish as it were.

    They seem to be doing away with their old house brands, and bringing in new ones that are certainly prettier, but they are still Harbor Freight house brands, and are being sold at close to Rigid and Hitachi prices in some cases...

    How well could this approach possibly work for them? I mean there is the market niche for affordable basic tools that they, and to a lesser extent, Northern Tools both fit, and both seem to be walking away from.

    I don't get it.
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  • #2
    Not only that, but they did away with their 10 and 15 and 20% coupons and freebie givaway promotions. Used to bring me in regularly.
    And low on stock (maybe pandemic related, but maybe not because they have the upscale stuff on the shelves) of the cheaper pittsburgh items driving you to the upscale stuff.

    Maybe they have twice the markup margin; selling half as much is OK.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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    • #3
      Yep, with their upmarket and price to match, I have started visiting Northern Tools and find their merchandise better at similar prices. I compare NT tools and prices with HF regularly now.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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      • #4
        And in other news, apparently Hyundai has spun off a Luxury car brand Genesis because people want to spend gobs of cash on a Hyundai?

        I guess I will never understand.

        Seriously though, this move is giving me serious pause on where my default for inexpensive tools should be. Instead of the just get it from HF thing, it is driving me to comparison shop between HF, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon.

        Mind you, there isn't a lot left that I want / need for the shop, But at the prices of what HF is listing now, if I opt to go with a double bevel 12" SCMS, I seriously suspect I am going to just go ahead and save the bit more for the Hitachi that doesn't need so much space behind the saw for the slider to function.

        They are kind of killing the reasons that were compelling me to buy at Harbor Freight.
        Last edited by dbhost; 11-19-2021, 09:11 AM.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by dbhost View Post
          And in other news, apparently Hyundai has spun off a Luxury car brand Genesis because people want to spend gobs of cash on a Hyundai?
          Genesis/Hyundai is no different than Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti etc. If you want to impress people, Buy a Hyundai Sonata and tape $30k to the dashboard.

          Back on topic, I have no idea what Harbor Freight's plans are. In addition to changing their product line, they have stores everywhere. When I bought my Bandsaw and Drill press many years ago there was one store in Minnesota and it was an 80 mile drive. There are now 4 within 30 miles of my old house and 7 within 30 miles of my new house. That is a lot of real estate lease dollars to pay for which is difficult with really slim margins on cheap tools.

          Chr's
          __________
          An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
          A moral man does it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by twistsol View Post

            Genesis/Hyundai is no different than Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti etc. If you want to impress people, Buy a Hyundai Sonata and tape $30k to the dashboard.

            Back on topic, I have no idea what Harbor Freight's plans are. In addition to changing their product line, they have stores everywhere. When I bought my Bandsaw and Drill press many years ago there was one store in Minnesota and it was an 80 mile drive. There are now 4 within 30 miles of my old house and 7 within 30 miles of my new house. That is a lot of real estate lease dollars to pay for which is difficult with really slim margins on cheap tools.
            I'm sure they have a business plan they are working. So did Sears and Radio Shack. Hope they don't miss their mark like those guys did...
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            • #7
              Originally posted by twistsol View Post

              Genesis/Hyundai is no different than Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti etc. If you want to impress people, Buy a Hyundai Sonata and tape $30k to the dashboard.
              I can't go along with that. My sister in law bought a Hyundai Sonata new two years ago an has had nothing but trouble with it. It is in warranty though and it has been in and out of the shop, mostly engine problems. Granted, this can happen with ANY brand.

              That said, the Toyota brand of has the longest life as a whole, whether Toyota/Lexus, IMO. I now have 390,000 miles on my 2009 Camry Hybrid and it is still going strong. But, I'm "thinking" of selling it for what ever I can get for it, and getting a new vehicle as the Camry is using oil at the rate of 1 quart every 1500 to 2000 miles. I used to get 1 quart per 5000 miles. I still get 33-34 mpg, which is what I got when I bought it at 73,000 used in 2012.

              I'm would like to figure out how much I have saved by not buying/trading in for a new or new-used car when one gets to the 100,000 mile mark. I have bought and replaced/installed - 1. a dual electric radiator fan set, 2. spark plugs once, 3. brakes once, 4. headlights changed to LEDs; 5. three sets of 90,000 mile tires at the 85-88000 mile mark. 6. Throttle body cleaned; Numerous oil changes and air filters. Need to replace a horn now as one of the dual horns has died.

              I have gotten my money's worth from this vehicle.

              THIS BRINGS Up a comparison question for tools - when is it worth paying extra for something versus getting what will get the job done? I am going to start a thread for this discussion.

              See it here: https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...ast-tool-first
              Last edited by leehljp; 11-21-2021, 10:54 AM.
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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