COVID 19 and online purchasing

How did COVID-19 change home improvement online purchasing?

Online pur­chas­ing, while bol­stered by the pan­dem­ic, remains large­ly con­sis­tent with trends tracked in 2019.


To exam­ine how the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic influ­enced online pur­chas­ing of home improve­ment prod­ucts, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) sur­veyed 500 qual­i­fied respon­dents. The Online Home Improve­ment Con­sumer sur­vey, com­plet­ed in May 2021, high­light­ed in-store ver­sus online dynam­ics, online prod­uct research, gen­er­al online pur­chas­ing habits, and the mod­ern consumer’s path to pur­chase.

Here are four key insights.


1. Pur­chasers between 18 and 34 years old showed the biggest increase in online shop­ping, grow­ing the per­cent­age of pur­chas­es made online from 58% in 2019 to 66% in 2021. Mean­while, online pur­chas­ing by shop­pers ages 35 to 54 jumped from 49% to 58%. Those 55 and old­er remained unchanged, and 23% of this group said they would nev­er con­sid­er buy­ing home improve­ment prod­ucts online.

2. Ama­zon remains the lead out­let for home improve­ment pur­chas­es, with a 63% shop­ping rate. Com­pared to 2019, home cen­ters such as Home Depot and Lowe’s increased 13% and 8%, respec­tive­ly.

3. The abil­i­ty to touch and feel prod­ucts is in-store shopping’s biggest draw for con­sumers. More than two-thirds of respon­dents report­ed the desire to go and look at items as one of their top rea­sons for shop­ping in-store.

4. On that note, some prod­ucts, such as tools and fix­tures, are more com­mon­ly pur­chased online than oth­er prod­uct cat­e­gories such as lum­ber and HVAC. Tools are pur­chased online more often, like­ly because they are rel­a­tive­ly stan­dard. Mean­while, lum­ber is not pur­chased online very often, like­ly due to high­er ship­ping costs.

To gain full access to results from this study exam­in­ing online buy­ing atti­tudes, log in or join HIRI today.