COVID Impact Tracker HERO

COVID-19 Impact Tracker Updates: Pro and DIY Behavior

Oct 22, 2020

To mea­sure the cur­rent eco­nom­ic cli­mate and under­stand pur­chas­ing behav­ior in home improve­ment, the COVID-19 Impact Track­er was devel­oped and used to research con­sumer pur­chas­es from home improve­ment stores by the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) in part­ner­ship with The Farnsworth Group. 

HIRI and The Farnsworth Group made it a pri­or­i­ty to study home improve­ment shop­ping behav­ior dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. This year, the impact of COVID on the behav­ior of home improve­ment pro­fes­sion­als and DIY­ers have been sig­nif­i­cant, and we tracked this infor­ma­tion on a reg­u­lar basis to stay on top of the trend. 

The data was col­lect­ed from sur­veys issued to more than 300 par­tic­i­pants on a week­ly and month­ly basis, with each age group being rep­re­sent­ed equal­ly. Here’s what we learned.

Tracker Takeaways: Purchasing Trends During the Pandemic 

To study trends in home Improve­ment, the COVID Impact Track­er asked pro­fes­sion­al con­trac­tors and home­own­ers about the pur­chas­ing deci­sions they made in recent months.

Because of home-bas­ing (or manda­to­ry stay-at-home orders), there’s been a rise in DIY projects. These projects have caused a major mar­ket shift and impact­ed home­own­ers’ pur­chase deci­sions over the last sev­er­al months. 

Home­own­ers have had more free time to fin­ish DIY projects since mid-March: Data indi­cates that over 60% of DIY­ers are focused more on pur­chas­es for their homes than oth­er expen­di­tures before the pan­dem­ic hit.

HIRI COVID19 Impact on DIY Projects

Whether it’s free time or just being around the house more often, home­own­ers spend more time on DIY projects these days. It makes sense: if you’re home-bas­ing or need to set up a home office, the idea of improv­ing your liv­ing space is at the fore­front of your mind.

HIRI COVID19 Diyer Product Purchase Location

Tracker Takeaways: Effects on Professional Contractors

Online pur­chas­es remain robust for a few rea­sons, includ­ing home­own­ers’ con­cerns over health and safe­ty about vis­it­ing local retail stores. They’re also more like­ly to work on DIY projects instead of hir­ing a con­trac­tor because of health and safe­ty con­cerns.

Home­own­ers are tack­ling projects on their own since they’re still hes­i­tant about any­one out­side their pod” enter­ing their home. That means they’ll under­take jobs they might pre­vi­ous­ly have paid a con­trac­tor to do: bath­room remod­els, paint­ing or refin­ish­ing a floor, land­scap­ing, etc.

HIRI COVID19 DIY Projects Planned

The good news for con­trac­tors is that project qual­i­ty and sizes are rebound­ing, accord­ing to track­er research. Over 50% of home improve­ment pro­fes­sion­als report that their recent project sizes are the same or larg­er than they were before the COVID-19 crisis.

HIRI COVID19 Large or Small Projects

Tracker Takeaways: Effects on Suppliers and Retailers

There are a few areas where pro­fes­sion­als see issues crop­ping up — and most issues today are in the home improve­ment mate­ri­als sup­ply chain.

Home­own­ers, DIY­ers, con­trac­tors and oth­er indus­try pro­fes­sion­als all shopped online more this last year, either because of COVID-19 restric­tions at their local retail­ers or because the store was (and still is, in some cas­es) out of stock of products.

HIRI COVID19 Building Materials Where Purchased

But con­trac­tors and oth­er home improve­ment indus­try pro­fes­sion­als aren’t as busy with projects and expect their firms to earn less rev­enue in the com­ing months. So while there’s been a slight rebound in the sales of home improve­ment mate­ri­als and sup­plies, those prod­ucts are like­ly going towards a homeowner’s DIY project.

It’s a direct result of COVID, accord­ing to reports from the Week­ly COVID Track­er: Of those com­pa­nies expe­ri­enc­ing down­time, the major­i­ty expressed that they can­not oper­ate with low­ered rev­enue for more than six months.

But there’s a bright side: While res­i­den­tial project requests have been low­er than usu­al, the qual­i­ty and amount of these requests remain robust. Home­own­ers might be han­dling a bath­room remod­el, but they like­ly won’t tack­le HVAC or elec­tric repair. Instead, they’ll call their favorite con­trac­tor or anoth­er skilled pro­fes­sion­al.

And because home­own­ers spend more time at home now, they’ll be using their spaces more often and will even­tu­al­ly need help main­tain­ing or repair­ing them.

In oth­er words, things are always guar­an­teed to piv­ot in the home improve­ment market.

Need Help Staying on Track?

HIRI has helped home improve­ment com­pa­nies and pro­fes­sion­als nav­i­gate the shift­ing mar­ket, how their cus­tomers are spend­ing mon­ey and how to make deci­sions around their busi­ness in a tumul­tuous mar­ket.

By track­ing this research data, HIRI deliv­ers action­able infor­ma­tion and resources to pro­fes­sion­als in the home improve­ment indus­try. A mem­ber­ship with HIRI means you gain insight into all aspects of the indus­try: from prod­uct pur­chas­ing trends to DIY project data.

Stay up to date on indus­try news and sign up for the HIRI newslet­ter, or apply to become a mem­ber today.

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