It’s no surprise that consumers of differing ages and in differing life stages have varying preferences and purchase motivations when it comes to selecting home improvement products. Generational differences can have an effect on all aspects of the purchase journey, from preferred shopping channels to point of purchase considerations, and post-purchase brand loyalties.
Our analysts at The Home Improvement Research Institute provide home improvement related companies with core insights to help you understand your audiences, which is why we analyzed the results of various HIRI studies into the latest Generations at Home Report.
This analysis provides a comprehensive picture of generational attitudes and behaviors towards the means by which home improvement projects are completed, comparing behaviors across all generations from Millennials to the Silent Generation.
Here are 7 select findings that are explored in greater detail in the full report:
Aged 27 to 42, millennials lead many of the trends we see in home improvement. This cohort completes, on average, 4.8 home improvement projects per year, and 49% complete five or more projects per year — the most of any generation. Millennials are also the biggest spenders of the bunch, spending approximately 30% more per project than the average.
Gen Xers are between the ages of 43 and 58 years old. This generation possesses greater confidence in its DIY abilities compared to Millennials, but less confidence in their abilities as compared to older generations.
Interestingly, while Millennials and Gen X are least comfortable doing the DIY work, these two generations choose to DIY a project the most.
And even though the reason Gen X decide to DIY most is to save money, they will opt for DIFM over BIY when they do choose to work with a Pro. “BIY” stands for “Buy-It-Yourself” and refers to when a homeowner purchases the materials but pays a Pro to install them. “DIFM” stands for “Do-It-For-Me” and refers to contracting the work out to a Pro.
We asked various other questions and from the responses, there’s a trend that as these homeowners age, their reason to hire a pro increasingly becomes to ensure the project is done right, whereas their younger cohort reports not being able to do the job alone as a top motivation.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Baby Boomers plan to improve their homes the least of all age groups, with 72% purchasing a home needing no major renovations. 38% of boomers are performing one to two home improvement projects per year as of findings from 2022, and the primary project they undertake are roof replacements. This generation, aged 59 to 77, reports staying in their home as they age as the top home improvement priority.
According to findings from our various studies, Millennials are more prone to make “experience based” home improvement decisions, whether that be deciding to DIY because they enjoy the project and even when it comes to to hiring a professional because they had a good experience in the past.
This mindset also influences how they shop. Millennials are more likely than any other generation to shop at more than one retailer and least likely to only shop at a brick and mortar store, opting for both in store and online shopping.
We know that at least 90% of homeowners perform some degree of research before buying. However, younger generations — over 50% of Millennials and Gen Xers — research more online compared to older cohorts.
Age and project planning correlate negatively, with younger generations planning more before starting a project than older generations do. Baby boomers have the shortest project timelines, averaging about five months.
When asked what projects were completed most often, all three generations had the same top three answers for the most popular projects: gardening, painting and lighting.
All that said, there are some general principles you can apply in your go-to-market and advertising strategies to increase market penetration among various generations:
As analysis of these reports suggests, millennials especially prioritize getting product information online before purchasing, and Gen X customers find value in conducting online research as well. Manufacturers and suppliers should provide detailed information about how to use their products in applicable projects on their websites and through social media platforms to satisfy pre-project researchers.
The degree to which information should be accessible and over which information channels varies by category, and can be further understood by data in the Project Decision Study.
Manufacturers and retailers can imbue continued confidence in DIY’ing by taking to market products that cater to Millennial and Gen X’s DIY interests and encourage them to take on more projects.
The report suggests that age and project planning correlate negatively, with younger generations planning more. Manufacturers and retailers can offer online resources such as project tutorials and guides to assist with planning and organizing.
Identify which marketing touch-points are most attributable to the point of sale and be sure to invest in providing high value buyer’s journey’s at those points to increase market share.
In general, we see that Baby Boomers spend less time considering and completing a project, whereas younger generations, like Millennials spend more time.
By understanding key generational differences and applying learnings gleaned from insights, home improvement professionals can create and market products that appeal to specific age groups while tailoring their marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
Want to dig into the full Generations at Home Report and tabulate the source data specifically for your own use cases? Join HIRI for unlimited access to our full stores of exclusive research.
Members have access to the complete data sets and associated studies analyzed for this Generations in Home Improvement Report. Those reports include the:
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