Why Was Milwaukee Tools One of the Fastest Growing Brands of 2022?

Updated: Dec. 21, 2022

Milwaukee Tool was recently named one of the fastest growing brands of 2022. Here's how the company got there.

Founded in 1924, Milwaukee power and hand tools are known for their durability and high-quality construction. But for a company quickly approaching its 100th anniversary, Milwaukee isn’t mired in the past. A new report indicates that the Milwaukee Tool brand may be more relevant than ever.

Morning Consult has named Milwaukee Tool as the fifth fastest-growing brand among U.S. adults. Construction pros and DIYers have long appreciated the brand. But how did a tool manufacturer break out of the construction industry to achieve such remarkable growth in consumer awareness?

Milwaukee Tool: One of America’s Fastest-Growing Brands

The Morning Consult Fastest Growing Brands report measures the rate of change in American consumer purchasing. It conducted two surveys, in January and October 2022, to find what percentage of U.S. responders would consider purchasing from a given brand.

Because it’s based on general consumer awareness, Morning Consult asked participants to select from a list of almost 1,700 brands. As a result, the overall top twenty includes tech companies like Meta and Adobe, as well as specialized brands like Milwaukee Tools and Crocs.

The fastest-growing brands include consumer staples like Kraft Barbecue Sauce and Great Value Cream Cheese. It’s not every list that places power tools, virtual reality and bagel spreads on equal footing.

Why Did Milwaukee Tool Make the List?

This uptick in Milwaukee Tool’s consumer awareness didn’t happen overnight. It comes after a long period of regrouping and rebirth. The company has been forthcoming about this internally-driven change, and traces it back to overly-rapid expansion in the late 1990s. The need for change is plainly laid out on the Milwaukee website:

“At the turn of the millennium … we had admittedly lost focus. We were dabbling in many different areas, trying to be a brand for everyone.”

By the time Techtronic Industries purchased Milwaukee Tool in 2005, the stage was set for a back-to-basics moment. In 2007 the brand focused on reestablishing its reputation among its core audience of trade professionals and DIYers.

As part of that initiative, Milwaukee Tool led the industry in the switch to lithium-ion batteries, a dramatic improvement over their nickel-cadium predecessors.

Milwaukee’s newfound focus on putting the most reliable tools in customers’ hands increased brand loyalty among professional plumbers, electricians and other trades. From there, Milwaukee expanded its customer base to DIYers. It all increased general awareness and word-of-mouth buzz around the brand.

This growth was especially significant among Gen-Xers. According to Morning Consult data, Gen-Xers are more likely to purchase a Milwaukee Tool product than any other demographic.

The Future of Milwaukee Tool

Milwaukee Tool is still actively expanding. In May 2022 the company announced a $206 million investment into their research and development facilities and equipment in Wisconsin. It also invested $14 million in a downtown Chicago facility that will be a “engineering design and innovation space” housing 250 employees.

Of course, it’s a competitive industry, and Milwaukee’s brand awareness isn’t going unchallenged.

While Gen-Xers drove Milwaukee’s placement in the Morning Consult, the fourth-fastest growing brand among millennials was another tool manufacturer: DeWalt. It remains to be seen if Milwaukee Tool can broaden its appeal to younger consumers while continuing its impressive growth.