Every other year since 1999, the Home Improvement Research Institute has surveyed home improvement remodelers and specialty contractors to track critical product and channel activities. Purchasing behaviors are one important focus within this field of research: When it comes to choosing the brand or type of materials used in a project, who are the decision-makers? How do they shop for these products?
HIRI’s Home Improvement Contractor Study examines purchasing behaviors within 11 product categories and the channels contractors use for purchases in those categories, as well as their shopping behaviors.
1. Not all types of home improvement products have the same path to purchase.
HIRI found a difference in decision-makers when comparing tools and equipment versus project materials. Project materials are more likely to be decided on and purchased by company owners themselves, while another person or department is often in charge of doing so for other tools and materials.
2. Most companies have a designated person or department that both purchases equipment and decides which kind to purchase.
Regardless of the project type or who is making the final call, the decision is usually left in the hands of a few over many. Only 35% of respondents reported being reimbursed for the equipment they purchased or providing their own tools and equipment on the job. Meanwhile, 59% said the tools are provided by the company, and 5.6% reported another method.
3. For any product, poor quality is the number one reason to switch brands.
Remodelers value quality: 58% reported poor quality as a common reason for taking on a new brand for their tools and equipment, and 38% said the same for switching project materials. In both cases, poor quality was the number one reported reason for making the switch.
4. Almost half of the companies have specified brands for all tools and materials.
While more than half of remodeling firms provide tools and materials themselves, almost the same proportion (49%) have predetermined brands that purchasing decision-makers will gravitate toward every time. Furthermore, 27% of respondents reported their firm sometimes specifies which brand to use, and 25% reported that never happened.
5. Independent online research is both the most used and valued method for discovering new products and brands.
The most used and most valued methods for discovering new products and brands were posed to survey respondents in two separate questions, and independent online research came first in both categories. Relying on colleagues and others in the industry came second for the most used method for discovering new products while turning to retailers, wholesalers, and distributors were reported as the second-most-valued method.
Want access to complete results from HIRI’s Home Improvement Contractor Study, including responses from the specialty tradesmen category? To download the full report and other valuable home improvement research, join HIRI today.
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