After an uptick in 2020, home improvement activity remained strong in 2021. This is great news for professionals in the home and building industry, as consumer activity leads to product purchases and overall market growth. However, not every home improvement project is conducted similarly, and not every homeowner approaches a project in the same fashion. For marketing, sales, or business development professionals in the industry, it is important to consider how these nuances could provide additional areas of opportunity when planning for a successful 2022.
To identify unmet needs in project planning, HIRI conducted a project decision study covering 19 different project categories. The surveys included insightful questions into consumers’ project schedules and decision-making processes, highlighting motivations for the project, project costs, and roles of household members and paid professionals.
150 surveys were completed for each of the following project categories:
For a detailed breakdown of data for each project category, HIRI members can access the full project decision study now. Below are key takeaways in project decision-making with general suggestions for driving growth with the home improvement audience.
Effects of the Pandemic
In the U.S., COVID-19 began to register as a crisis in early 2020. The pandemic presented challenges to homeowners and the home improvement/maintenance industry in many ways. It temporarily delayed some projects and meant that others were postponed or canceled due to material and labor shortages. In the long run, however, the pandemic may have caused homeowners to focus more on their residences, driving them to nest and to make houses more comfortable and safe — and possibly to work on projects that had been put off.
Looking to the future, continued supply chain problems will doubtless present challenges for a long time. On the other hand, homeowners are motivated to improve their residences or at least to perform maintenance and repair tasks. Understanding how the supply of your business will be affected can help with future planning.
Barriers to Project Planning
Homeowners often discover that barriers hinder their dreams of certain projects playing out the way they would like. A major barrier is financial concerns. Solutions on the business side might include making projects more affordable or offering financing options. Other choke points for homeowners include product or material supplies, availability of the chosen pros, and project doers’ time.
Homeowners who undertake a home improvement/maintenance project typically remain closely involved throughout the process, even when paid professionals are involved. These homeowners show an appetite for information, ideas, and advice. To capitalize on their business, industry players might position themselves as “go-to” experts, utilizing appropriate communication channels and strategies. Paid pros are also important marketing targets and can be catered to with special deals and services.
Brick-and-mortar retailers — especially home improvement centers — are still important destinations for shopping and buying, and draw more visitors than do internet retailers. However, internet retailers are growing in importance, and dual brick-and-mortar/internet patronage is rising. Amazon.com is a leader in web sales, but other websites, such as homedepot.com, lowes.com, and walmart.com, are also competitive.
An electronic presence is highly desirable in the home and building category; it can be helpful in positioning industry players as credible authorities for obtaining project information and ideas. Retailers, manufacturers, paid professionals and others can present their stories on websites, social media and other apps, knowing project doers and pros will be browsing them.
Compared to older project doers, Gen Y and Gen X homeowners are important targets. HIRI’s survey found that these groups undertake more projects and are more likely to increase their home improvement spending. While this alone would make them important targets, securing their loyalty at an early age can also provide long-term rewards.
HIRI is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to home improvement research. For insights that help you make better business decisions, join HIRI today.
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