The COVID-19 home improvement boom was bound to slow down eventually. After two years of double-digit market growth, economic pressures are expected to stall growth of category activity over the next year.
Industry experts are torn regarding the expected severity of the probable 2023 recession. Despite overall economic uncertainty, HIRI research findings support a stance that the home improvement market is still expected to grow, albeit incrementally, throughout 2026 — which is good news for our industry.
While it’s impossible to know the exact outcome for the road ahead, we can take a look back on the path we’ve traveled so far. Here’s a quick recap of the events that defined 2022 for the home improvement industry:
At the start of 2022, home improvement product purchase rates in all categories were still growing significantly across the board. HIRI observed a large jump in retail sales figures, indicating the considerable investment homeowners continued to make in their homes during the beginning of the year.
Activity among professional contractors was especially high, as homeowners hired help to complete larger projects that had been delayed by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, high demand mixed with lingering supply chain woes from the response to the pandemic amplified long-lasting challenges for professional contractors, including material delays and high prices.
By April 2022, covid concerns of homeowners was no longer one of the leading causes of project delays. From April through year end, material availability continued to be the biggest cause of project delays. The second-most limiting factor became material prices.
By November 2022, material availability remains the top cause of project delays among 63% of Professionals and material prices remains the top limiting factor among 35% of professionals.
Professionals continue to rank material prices, material availability, and labor as the top 3 challenges facing their businesses.
The same supply chain issues that plagued professional contractors left homeowners feeling unsatisfied with the cost or pace of their home improvement projects.
In May 2022, homeowners reported high expenses or contractor unavailability as the top obstacles for hiring a professional. This is likely why most homeowners reported completing at least one project themselves instead of hiring help.
Because of labor challenges, contractors still have strong lead times on projects and have yet to feel the full effects of changing homeowner sentiments towards hiring contractors.
By November of 2022, more homeowners reported postponing projects altogether — 57% up from 42% in May.
In the midst of material delays and supply chain woes, consumers continued to adopt a growing number of internet-connected devices into their homes. However, the rise of smart devices and low-cost market options has not come without setbacks.
A 2022 HIRI report unveiled that half of consumers purchasing connected devices are also returning them. This was mostly due to the devices not performing as advertised or difficulties setting up the products.
Additionally, HIRI found that 50% of smart-home device owners have experienced an internet issue with one or more of their devices. Smart lightbulb, sprinkler system, smoke detector and plug owners encounter the most problems on average. When reliant on connectivity, even the least troublesome smart home devices caused problems for households, manufacturers and retailers alike in 2022.
Inflation and a probable 2023 recession will affect how much homeowners spend on home improvement going forward.
Analysts forecast total home improvement products market growth to decelerate from 7.2% in 2022 to 1.5% in 2023, with the consumer and professional markets growing by 0.6% and 3.6%, respectively.
Looking through a greater economic lens to determine the housing market outlook, the National Association of Home Builders’ Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington predicts that we will see a mild recession with significant challenges to builders, however, nothing on the scale of the 2008 U.S. recession.
We advise readers to not be scared at the thought of a potential recession and to continue to take advantage of opportunities for growing their businesses throughout the near future. The impacts are likely to reset category growth trajectories onto paths similar to previous, 2019 forecasts.
Need further insight to help guide your product, channel, marketing, and sales teams? HIRI members have on-demand access to the latest market conditions and insights among home improvement customers all year long. Book your consultation to learn more about becoming a HIRI member.