Top Insights from 2020 Insights Summit HERO

Key Takeaways from the 2020 Virtual Summit

This year’s HIRI Sum­mit was, like most con­fer­ences and events in 2020, held a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly — though that didn’t take away from the wealth of knowl­edge the pan­el of experts imparted.

The HIRI Vir­tu­al Sum­mit 2020 event pro­vid­ed atten­dees access to valu­able data and mar­ket research on home improve­ment over a three-day span. The best part was, this year, reg­is­trants could attend from wher­ev­er they were, at no cost. 

Even though we didn’t con­nect in per­son, there were count­less ben­e­fits to vir­tu­al­ly attend­ing this year’s HIRI Sum­mit. In case you missed it, let’s look at what the vir­tu­al sum­mit includ­ed and some of the key take­aways we learned from indus­try experts.

HIRI Summit 2020 Insights on the Industry

HIRI Summit Takeaways: Insights on the Industry

The Home Improve­ment Research Indus­try (HIRI) is the only non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to track­ing and report­ing on updates in the home improve­ment mar­ket exclu­sive­ly for its mem­bers. The HIRI Sum­mit is typ­i­cal­ly an in-per­son annu­al con­fer­ence, but this year the Sum­mit was a three-day vir­tu­al gath­er­ing for home indus­try pro­fes­sion­als.

The Sum­mit was an oppor­tu­ni­ty for those in the home improve­ment indus­try to learn about the lat­est trends in con­sumer and con­trac­tor behav­iors (as well as to net­work and con­nect dig­i­tal­ly). The talks includ­ed the fol­low­ing topics:

  • Exclu­sive DIY and Pro data and research on mar­ket dynamics
  • The econ­o­my and the home improve­ment market

Future of DIY and pro­fes­sion­al projects dur­ing COVID-19

Here are just a few of the biggest take­aways from the HIRI Sum­mit.


1. Home­own­ers Are Home-Bas­ing

Trust­ed Media Brands coined the term home-bas­ing” not long ago, and it describes the trend of stay­ing at home instead of going out. They used the term even before stay-at-home orders were in place dur­ing the COVID-19 cri­sis, but the trend of nest­ing has gained pop­u­lar­i­ty since many fam­i­lies have quar­an­tined for most of 2020.

HIRI Summit 2020 Homeowners are Home-basing

Many home improve­ment brands have found ways to help home­own­ers dur­ing such unprece­dent­ed” times. After all, since fam­i­lies are home-bas­ing and stay­ing in more often, they’re prob­a­bly going to want to improve the space they’re in.

We’ve got to help inno­vate on ways for them to bat­tle bore­dom, whether that’s find­ing a new hob­by or fin­ish­ing a some­day’ project,” says Joe Dero­chows­ki, a Home Indus­try advi­sor with the NPD Group.

2. DIY Is On The Rise


Stay­ing home more fre­quent­ly, health con­cerns and finan­cial restraints made many home­own­ers recon­sid­er home improve­ment projects: Instead of hir­ing a con­trac­tor, they might decide to tack­le the job them­selves.

A large per­cent­age of those DIY projects are in the kitchen, accord­ing to mar­ket research. A lot of peo­ple are spend­ing time in this area. They’re not real­ly doing the take­out thing, and are cook­ing a lot of their meals at home,” says Dr. Jes­si­ca Lautz, VP of Demo­graph­ics and Behav­ioral Insights for the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Realtors.

HIRI Summit 2020 DIY on the Rise

Updat­ing these spaces is both ful­fill­ing for the home-bas­ing con­sumer and anoth­er step towards invest­ing in one of their most valu­able assets (their home).

3. How Sup­pli­ers Can Meet Buy­ers’ Demands

The HIRI Sum­mit allowed atten­dees to get a glimpse of how the home improve­ment indus­try is per­form­ing and what the mar­ket looks like for mate­ri­als and prod­uct sup­pli­ers.

Home improve­ment retail­ers can cater their sales mes­sages to reach home­own­ers and pro­fes­sion­als who need solu­tions for con­struc­tion and remod­el­ing projects. By under­stand­ing the demands of their cus­tomers, retail­ers can act as a resource for com­plet­ing these projects.

Green home and healthy build­ing aren’t just trends in con­struc­tion, for instance, and retail­ers can give cus­tomers the mate­ri­als and prod­ucts they need to build safer and health­i­er spaces. Accord­ing to Bill Hay­ward with Hay­ward Score, Homes should be health-sup­port­ing, not health degrad­ing.”

Some of the eas­i­est ways to upgrade the health of a home are already stocked in stores and online, and retail­ers can help their cus­tomers with deci­sions on their upgrades. No par­ti­cle board, OSB, volatile paints or any foam insu­la­tion, for instance,” says Bill Hay­ward with Hay­ward Score.

4. Your Home Improve­ment Pur­chas­es Are a Per­son­al Statement

It’s impor­tant for home improve­ment retail­ers and orga­ni­za­tions to under­stand that their cus­tomers con­sid­er their pur­chas­es to be a state­ment about their iden­ti­ty.

The more choic­es we have today means that each pur­chase made becomes a per­son­al brand state­ment,” explains Mikaela Sharp with John Burns Real Estate Con­sult­ing. And for many DIY­ers and home­own­ers, home improve­ment pur­chas­es are often pub­lic knowl­edge.

Social media broad­casts those pur­chas­es to every­one,” says Mikaela.

HIRI Summit 2020 HI Purchases Personal Statement

Home improve­ment retail­ers and firms can make the expe­ri­ence a pos­i­tive, mem­o­rable one for their cus­tomers so that they’ll want to share that expe­ri­ence with their own online audi­ence.

5. Remem­ber That Con­ve­nience Is King”

If you’re try­ing to reach your cus­tomer, whether they’re shop­ping online for prod­ucts or vis­it­ing a brick-and-mor­tar shop, you’ll need to antic­i­pate how they’ll shop with you and what will make the expe­ri­ence eas­i­er for them.

Zach Williams, CEO of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Ven­veo, showed Sum­mit atten­dees the best ways for home improve­ment retail­ers and con­struc­tion orga­ni­za­tions to sell their prod­ucts. Because so many con­sumers are mak­ing their pur­chas­es online, retail­ers can make that process a smooth, pain-free jour­ney for them.

HIRI Summit 2020 Venveo Example

This check­out expe­ri­ence tells the buy­er to pur­chase the prod­uct, and any ques­tions about siz­ing will be han­dled after the pur­chase,” explains Zach, They’re help­ing peo­ple get answers to their ques­tions more quickly.”

Home Improvement Networking and Insights

Every pre­sen­ta­tion at this year’s HIRI Sum­mit brought rev­e­la­to­ry con­ver­sa­tions and help­ful, action­able advice from experts.

Next year’s mar­ket research is sure to bring even more insights, but you don’t have to wait to get more insights. By becom­ing a HIRI mem­ber, you can get access to all past, cur­rent and future research.

Stay Informed

If you’re not yet signed up for our newslet­ter, we’d love to get your con­tact infor­ma­tion so you can stay informed about the research we’re doing and infor­ma­tion on our upcom­ing vir­tu­al Home Improve­ment Insights Summit.

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