The door market was one of the most challenged sectors of the home improvement industry during the demand spike in 2021. Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed decreases in spending and purchase incidence rates for products in this particular category.
However, with the shrinking housing market, and more homeowners renovating and repairing their current property to fit their evolving needs and lifestyles, the demand for doors is expected to remain steady.
Additionally, reporting shows that shoppers are less concerned about price in recent years and more focused on convenience and finding the exact product they need or want for their installation or replacement project.
According to HIRI’s U.S. Home Improvement Products Market Forecast, the market for doors and molding increased 10.7% from 2018 to 2022, before dropping to 9% in 2023. However, if you take into account inflation, the adjusted decrease was closer to 3%. Looking ahead to 2024 to 2027, the market is projected to recover slightly.
The average annual number of purchases in the doors, windows and millwork category—as a whole — increased from 2.3% in 2019 to 2.9% in 2022, and the spend more than doubled to $1320, up from $604 in 2019.
Homeowner product purchase incidence rates have increased approximately 2% over the past few years in a number of relevant product categories, including exterior doors, molding, storm/screen doors, and interior passage doors. Patio doors have seen the sharpest recent increase, from 1% in 2017 to 5% in 2021.
When it comes to the pro market, entry doors consistently have the highest purchase incidence rate. Roughly 39% of contractors bought this type of product in 2022 — the same rate we saw in 2021, according to findings in HIRI’s 2023 Contractor Product Purchasing Incidence report. Patio doors have seen slight increases over the past couple years, even if not quite matching incidence rates from 2019. However, purchases for closet doors and interior passage doors experienced decreased purchase incidence rates in both 2019 and 2021.
For the most current data, stay on the lookout for HIRI’s update to the Product Purchase Tracking study, will be available to HIRI members in Q3 of 2024. To stay informed when this updated report is released, simply subscribe to updates below:
Entry doors have the highest annual spend, although spend decreased from $1,000 in 2019 and 2021 to $600 in 2022. Spending for other door products — including closet doors, interior passage doors, patio doors, and storm doors — also has decreased since 2021.
For the retail market, we’re seeing some similar trends among homeowners, according to HIRI’s 2022 Home Improvement Retail Selector. In 2022, all varieties of door products studied had an increased purchase incidence compared to 2020, except for storm/screen doors. The median amount spent on door-related products was about $300.
It’s also worth noting that the majority of these projects are still funded by cash on hand and savings (75%), although that number is down from 83% in 2015. Bank credit cards appear to be slowly increasing as a go-to resource (17% in 2023 from 11% in 2015). Additionally, since 2019, more homeowners have been funding front entrance projects using various forms of credit lines, whether it be a bank credit card or store credit card. This trend is inline with overall trends that HIRI studies across the entire home improvement industry.
The average age of the existing housing stock in the United States is over 40 years old, which creates momentum for repair and replacement activities. As a result, these types of projects help drive door purchases.
Research from HIRI’s 2022 Product Purchase Tracking Study shows that roughly 72% of homes for which doors and similar items were purchased went to existing residences, rather than newly built homes. About one in four homes were more than 51 years old, and another 30% were between 26 to 50 years old. About 33% of customers had been in their home upward of 21 years; another 48% had lived in their home between 5 and 20 years.
As we can see, the “lock-in effect” of high interest rates — as well as a shortage in the housing supply — is keeping existing homeowners in their homes, creating a ripe market for repair and replacement activities.
Seasonality also seems to play a role in when and why various types of doors are purchased by both homeowners and professionals. For example, the highest percentages of patio doors (33.5%), storm/screen doors (38.9%) and closet doors (a whopping 48.3%) were purchased in the second quarter of the year in 2022, while the highest percentage of exterior doors (39.4 percent) were purchased in the third quarter.
This is corroborated by findings from HIRI’s 2023 Project Decision Study for front entrance improvement. Although it pertains exclusively to activity around entryways, it reveals that homeowners typically start thinking about projects between January and March, and most projects are started between April and August. Less activity happens during the end of the year. About 27% of homeowners also cited weather/season/timing in terms of what prompted the start of their front entrance project.
Data from 2023 data on product purchases in the doors, millwork and windows category will be available to HIRI members in Q3 of 2024. Learn more about becoming a member to get this research:
In 2022, about 39% of homeowners completed door installations themselves, while 63% of projects involved a contractor. The overlap, corroborated by other HIRI findings regarding an increase in collaboration projects, indicates projects where both homeowners and professionals worked together to complete the project. In general, from 2014 to 2022, we’ve observed an overall decrease in purely DIY door projects, with contractors doing the work a higher percentage of the time and “BIY” instances increasing, whereby the homeowner shops for and purchases all materials, and only hires a Pro for the installation.
Generalist pros account for more sales than specialist pros across all door products. For example, about 54% of generalists purchased an entry door for a project in 2022, compared to 19% of specialists. The annual spend is also higher for generalists versus specialists for most door categories, except for patio doors.
In 2022, only 21% of door projects were for new construction. Primarily, doors were purchased for home maintenance or repair projects, room remodels, and individual replacements.
It’s important for manufacturers and retailers to keep in mind that pros and homeowners have different purchase motivations — and there have been some notable changes in those motivations over the past couple years.
Keying in on motivations for purchases made for front entrance improvement projects, as uncovered in HIRI’s 2023 Project Decision Study, customers report an attractive appearance is the No. 1 factor behind choosing a particular material or product. Being long-lasting was a factor for 57% of consumers and price was a factor for 47%. Of note, having a good selection of products has jumped from 7% in 2014 to 22% in 2022.
Overall, there is indication that homeowners know what kind of look they want when purchasing doors and will put in the effort to find where to get that specific style.
This is further evidenced by the fact that homeowners did not cross-shop as frequently in 2022 as they did in 2020 — or 47% of the time, compared to 54%. When they choose to not purchase from a specific retailer and instead move to the next, about half the time the reason is the supplier didn’t have the size/color/style/etc. of the product they wanted. Not having the product in stock is another big driver for cross-shopping.
Good service has stayed relatively the same in terms of importance for retailer selection. However, convenience of location continues to be the top reason for why homeowners buy from a given supplier.
Meanwhile, we know the pro market has been struggling with an over-extended supply chain over the past few years, a topic addressed by Ken Pinto, Owner of Kenzai USA, during his presentation at the 2023 Home Improvement Insights Summit.
Difficulties arising from shipping container logistics and other shortages made it hard for manufacturers, retailers, and others in the home improvement industry, many of whom have to make decisions far in advance in terms of how many components and raw materials to purchase. Meanwhile, contractors experienced long delays on job sites as they waited for products to arrive.
From the outside, the supply chain seems to be improving, but Pinto cautioned that numerous current sociopolitical and economic factors could create a similar gridlock. Those who took notes from the issues that arose during the early 2020s will be poised to better confront possible shortages in the future.
Two pieces of advice he had for manufacturers and vendors were to intentionally work on building relationships — which can affect how and when you get the components and materials you need — and to focus on developing products that are not only easy to install, but difficult to install incorrectly. This will help address installation competency degradation and ensure adequate quality on job sites.
From doors, windows and millwork to other product categories, having the right data and insights can help building product manufacturers and retailers adjust to current trends and upcoming forecasts. HIRI’s reports and studies, which are available to all HIRI members, cover a wide range of relevant topics, from consumer behaviors among DIYers and professionals to key drivers in the home improvement marketplace.
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