HIRI Project Decision Study 2021 Hero

Areas of Opportunity for Your Home Improvement Brand

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:

  • Paint­ed an inte­ri­or room or area
  • Paint­ed the exte­ri­or of the home or garage
  • Repaired, replaced, or added plumb­ing fixtures
  • Rewired an elec­tri­cal system
  • Replaced or refin­ished flooring
  • Replaced or added window(s)
  • Remod­eled the kitchen or parts of the kitchen
  • Remod­eled a bathroom
  • Added a bathroom
  • Remod­eled a room in the home or garage for dif­fer­ent use
  • Built/​added a room or garage onto the home
  • Replaced the roof over the entire home or garage
  • Replaced the sid­ing on the entire home
  • Built a patio, deck, or porch
  • Plant­ed a gar­den or land­scaped the property
  • Made garage appearance/​organization improve­ments (oth­er than cleaning)
  • Made out­side front entrance appear­ance improve­ments (e.g., doors, facades, lights, win­dows, hardware)
  • Added or replaced insulation
  • Stained or sealed an exist­ing deck
  • Remod­eled a base­ment or an attic

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.

Home­own­er Involvement

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.

Retail Des­ti­na­tions

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. Ama​zon​.com is a leader in web sales, but oth­er web­sites, such as home​de​pot​.com, lowes​.com, and wal​mart​.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.

Gen­er­a­tional Differences

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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