It’s 2022 and life finally seems to be regaining some semblance of normalcy. However, the aftereffects of the Coronavirus pandemic are as important as ever to the home improvement products category.
Many homeowners completed DIY home improvement projects that they likely won’t have to tackle again for a couple of years. Additionally, our society has become ever more connected by digital technology. It’s a brand-new world. How and why are homeowners shopping for home improvement products in 2022?
To help answer this question, The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) conducted a survey in June this year on the retail sector of the home improvement industry. Results of this survey can help home improvement retailers, manufacturers and distributors understand customers’ needs. Previous iterations of the survey were released every other year between 2012 and 2022, and comparisons across years shed light on changing trends in consumer behavior.
Here’s what you need to know about retail selection in 2022:
While home maintenance/repair projects continue to be the most common project types associated with home improvement products purchased, their reported rate dropped 4% from 2020. Additionally, two years ago, home additions had the largest increase of all project types (9%), but this year dropped 3%.
Overall, project rates have fallen since 2020, but are still similar to or higher than 2018.
No matter the category or type of project, homeowners are still doing their research when it comes to picking out the right product. In fact, 75%-91% of homeowners consulted an information source before their most recent home improvement purchase. Friends and relatives are the most frequently reported source for information at 39%, but are followed closely by online videos, which have increased in use from 33% in 2020 to 36% this year. Of the 19% of survey respondents who consult social media, the top source is Facebook (79%).
It should come as no surprise that homeowners continue to consult online videos, social sites and retailer websites more than they did in previous years. The universality of the internet and accessibility of smartphones puts access to helpful information literally at our fingertips. That being said, a majority of respondents reported performing an activity on their mobile device in the home improvement purchase process. The most useful mobile device activity cited this year is – no surprise – “Research project ‘how-to’ information.”
2020 was a year that saw a massive uptick in online activity with 37% reporting that year that most of their recent purchases were online (whether delivered or picked up). In 2022, that number dropped to 28% as many homeowners returned to physical retail stores to purchase their items.
In fact, home centers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot were purchased from 5% more than in 2020, although discount/department stores were purchased from 4% less. Hardware stores, specialty stores, warehouse clubs, lumber or building supply, non-storefront retailers and the internet were purchased from at about the same rate as 2020.
Survey respondents listed their top reasons for shopping at each type of retailer:
Additionally, 32% of respondents cross-shopped retailers before making their purchase. This is a 4% decrease from 2020 (perhaps because less people are shopping online) but still higher than 2018. The most cited reason for not purchasing an item was that a retailer didn’t have the exact product wanted.
Manufacturers, distributors and especially retailers can use the information from this survey to better understand consumer behavior, where and why they make purchasing decisions and to plan strategically for how to help them along their retail journey.
For more insights into this survey, including raw data and demographic details, join HIRI as a member.
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