If you are a home improvement manufacturer or retailer, understanding homeowners’ behavior patterns and seasonal project trends can help you adjust your business strategy for success.
The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) conducts a quarterly survey of 2,000 homeowners to follow their current and planned home improvement projects. The results fuel our Home Improvement Project Activity Tracker, a powerful tool for the home improvement product industry.
We analyzed the most recent data from the last three months of 2022 to create a clear picture of home improvement project focus areas, homeowners’ cost considerations and more. Here’s what we found:
Typically, seasonal project data tells us that as fall fades into the winter months, homeowners wrap up their outdoor projects in favor of indoor improvements, redirecting attention toward the interior of their homes.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case in Q4 2022, as more homeowners (28%) opted to continue working outside, even though, in Q3, only 13% said they planned to do so.
As the cost of a home remains high, and mobility rates decline, existing homeowners are opting to expand livable spaces outdoors and new homebuyers are sacrificing interior square footage and opting to invest in outdoor living spaces much the same to feel they have enough room to stretch their elbows.
The unexpected staying power of outdoor projects didn’t dampen homeowners’ intentions to begin working on their kitchens over the past few months. In fact, kitchen projects remained consistently high throughout 2022 and peaked in Q2, typically the prime time for outdoor projects. This could have been due largely to contractor backlogs delaying kitchen project starts.
18% of those surveyed in Q3 of 2022 stated they planned to remodel or update their kitchens in Q4 of 2022, while 25% actually took on these projects by the year’s end.
Similar to the end of Q4 2022, intent to conduct a kitchen repair or remodel project remain a top focus for homeowners over the next few months. Most respondents (17%) plan to make small renovations and cosmetic changes to their kitchens in Q1 2023. These projects mostly consist of painting, redoing floors and/or replacing old countertops
Beyond outdoor projects and kitchen projects, 13% of homeowners conducted a project in the master or primary bathroom in Q4 of 2022. A bulk of the work anticipated in this area of the home for 2023 projects will be cosmetic as well, including painting, flooring and changing out plumbing fixtures.
As we analyzed median costs by project type throughout the year, some intriguing trends emerged:
In Q3, the home exterior shell (siding, gutters, windows, etc.) median cost spiked to $3,000, doubling the already-high median costs of Q1 and Q2 ($1,500). While that cost went down slightly in Q4, it was still fairly high, at $2,000, to end the year.
Kitchen projects — a consistently popular category — saw fairly moderate fluctuation in project costs throughout 2022. In Q1, the median cost was around $1,500, dropping to $1,200 in Q3 and shooting back up to $1,500 at year’s end.
Bathroom costs were sporadic over the year, with both primary/master bathroom project costs and secondary/guest bathroom project costs fluctuating between $500 and $1500.
The lowest median cost of all project types was in the yard/garden/landscape category, even though this was typically the most popular project type. The average project costs in Q2 and Q3 — the likeliest time of year for outdoor projects — were lower than during the start and end of the year.
Consistent with past data, roughly one-third of projects overall are completed entirely by professionals, while nearly half of projects are truly DIY.
When a homeowner reports they intend to complete a project as a DIYer, that expectation largely holds true. When asked in Q3 of 2022, 44% of homeowners said they would do projects on their own in Q4 of 2022, and in Q4 of 2022, 46% of respondents reported they DIY’d the project. Only 2% of homeowners who planned to hire a professional contractor for their projects instead opted to complete the work themselves. The data shows minimal changes from Q3 expectations to Q4 projects completed.
As the trend of homeowners completing projects themselves continues into 2023, home improvement industry professionals can maintain authority in the industry by becoming educators and advisors through blogs and social media posts. By showcasing your expertise, you can help homeowners look to you as a reliable resource and a trustworthy brand if they get stuck during the project or do decide to hire someone to complete other projects down the road.
HIRI members gain access to the full report and complete data sets from our quarterly Home Improvement Activity Trackers. This includes the median spend per project and the percentage of projects that are R&R, redecoration or small renovation versus major renovation — across 19 project categories.
The full report is 177 pages unpacking category-by-category data and insights. Become a HIRI member for full access.
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