HIRI Retail Selector Study updates and insights

HIRI’s Retail Selector Study: An Update and Insights

Oct 22, 2020

There isn’t one way to define nor­mal” in 2020, espe­cial­ly when it comes to home improve­ment indus­try trends.

Even though our col­lec­tive real­i­ty looks dif­fer­ent than it did this time last year, home improve­ment com­pa­nies need a way to mea­sure what’s hap­pen­ing in the indus­try, so that they can make deci­sions about their busi­ness with con­fi­dence.

The Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) con­duct­ed a sur­vey from mid-April to mid-May this year on the retail sec­tor of the home improve­ment indus­try. The sur­vey was launched to help under­stand how the devel­op­ing COVID pan­dem­ic and eco­nom­ic cri­sis would impact DIY­er and pro­fes­sion­al pur­chas­ing decisions.

The HIRI Retail Selector Study

The data that came back from HIRI’s retail selec­tor sur­vey was illu­mi­nat­ing, espe­cial­ly around home­own­ers’ behav­ior when it comes to DIY projects in 2020.

HIRI Retail Selector Homeowner Behavior

The retail selec­tor study respon­dents need­ed to meet a few requirements:

  • They had to be deci­sion-mak­ers for pur­chas­ing deci­sions in their homes;
  • They had to per­son­al­ly pur­chase prod­ucts for home improve­ment in the last three months;
  • They could not be employed in the home improve­ment industries;
  • They had to be 18 years of age or older.

HIRI broke down the respons­es from the 2,000 home­own­ers who answered the sur­vey, based on their age, gen­der and oth­er demo­graph­ics.

Here are a few of the biggest take­aways from HIRI’s study.

Take­away #1: Home Sales and New Construction

The sur­vey asked respon­dents about any plans they had for mov­ing into and buy­ing new homes.

I think this is a real­ly impor­tant thing to look at right now,” explains Grant Farnsworth, of The Farnsworth Group who was the research and insights firm that over­saw this study. We’re see­ing some tremen­dous exist­ing home sales month-over-month.”

In the 2020 sur­vey, 21% of respon­dents said they planned to buy or sell their home in the next 12 months. We’ve seen this almost dou­ble from pri­or sur­veys,” says Grant.

Take­away #2: DIY Activ­i­ty Is Still Steady

Home improve­ment projects have been a grow­ing trend among home­own­ers (there’s an entire tele­vi­sion net­work ded­i­cat­ed to it), but DIY projects are increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar these days. Grant Farnsworth explains that we’re see­ing a nest­ing phe­nom­e­na” come into play in 2020: We’re all stuck” at home dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, so home­own­ers want to make that home as pleas­ant as pos­si­ble.

And home­own­ers want solu­tions for the long-term. They either want to make improve­ments so they’re more com­fort­able in their homes or want to make repairs before they put their prop­er­ty up for sale.

HIRI Retail Selector DIY Where Purchased

HIRI asked sur­vey respon­dents if they’re still mak­ing pur­chas­es for those projects, and the results were affir­ma­tive. Even dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and an eco­nom­ic cri­sis, home­own­ers are still pur­chas­ing prod­ucts for their DIY projects: pur­chas­es from home improve­ment cen­ters went up by 3% between April and June and online pur­chas­es went up by 1%.

Take­away #3: Online Is On the Rise

It’s notable, how­ev­er, that home­own­ers have had to nav­i­gate COVID restric­tions and oth­er bar­ri­ers to pur­chase when they shop for their DIY projects. Those fac­tors have con­tributed to the num­ber of in-store pur­chas­es, which are down by 20% from 2018 research.

How­ev­er, the num­ber of online and curb­side pick­up pur­chas­es went up in 2020: 21% of home­own­ers in the sur­vey bought their prod­ucts online, a sig­nif­i­cant increase from the 6% of home­own­ers who bought prod­ucts online in 2018. The con­ve­nience of curb­side pick­up has also grown in pop­u­lar­i­ty in 2020.

HIRI Retail Selector how DIY made Recent Purchase

Take­away #4: Big­ger Shop­ping Baskets

Research from HIRI’s sur­vey also indi­cates that home­own­ers are buy­ing more of a vari­ety of home improve­ment prod­ucts. DIY­ers are buy­ing in more cat­e­gories and they’re spend­ing more mon­ey,” says Grant Farnsworth. Their bas­kets are get­ting big­ger.”

Grant explains how this kind of data is help­ful for home improve­ment com­pa­nies. This should shift how you posi­tion your prod­uct, how you posi­tion your brand, how you devel­op the prod­uct, your sales and mar­ket­ing mes­sag­ing, etc.” Under­stand­ing which prod­ucts are pop­u­lar among DIY­ers can help retail­ers plan and project which prod­ucts might bring in more business.

How Home Improvement Companies Can Use This Data

HIRI’s retail selec­tor study helped to illu­mi­nate how the eco­nom­ic cri­sis and glob­al pan­dem­ic have affect­ed home improve­ment retail cus­tomers. That kind of infor­ma­tion can help home improve­ment com­pa­nies and retail­ers make bet­ter busi­ness deci­sions and plan for future success.

HIRI Retail Selector Toolbelt

COVID-19’s impact on the home improve­ment indus­try has been sig­nif­i­cant, but home­own­ers, DIY­ers, con­trac­tors and pro­fes­sion­als still need qual­i­ty prod­ucts from retail­ers they trust. By under­stand­ing the needs of these cus­tomers, home improve­ment com­pa­nies can attract and retain more busi­ness.

HIRI was found­ed to serve the home improve­ment indus­try by pro­vid­ing its mem­bers with rel­e­vant and up-to-date data on con­sumers and their pur­chas­ing deci­sions. All HIRI mem­bers get insights into home improve­ment mar­ket data and week­ly reports to help their com­pa­nies grow their busi­ness and plan for future suc­cess.

You can find out more by sign­ing up for HIRI’s newslet­ter. Or learn more about mem­ber­ship with HIRI and the ben­e­fits that our mem­bers receive.

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