The Impacts of COVID-19 on DIYer and Pro Behavior

May 06, 2020

The impacts of the cur­rent pan­dem­ic are wide­spread, and the con­struc­tion indus­try (and its econ­o­my) is no stranger to its effects. The impact of COVID-19 on home improve­ment projects has become a chal­lenge for many man­u­fac­tur­ers and retailers.

A few pur­chas­ing trends have changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly, espe­cial­ly with DIY projects and research around home improve­ment prod­ucts. If you’re sell­ing to DIY­ers and home improve­ment con­trac­tors, there are a few things to note when it comes to sell­ing your prod­uct dur­ing the cur­rent COVID crisis. 

Overall Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behavior

The stay-at-home orders and quar­an­tines in place across the world have dis­rupt­ed eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty in the last few months, but online shop­ping (and pur­chas­es) are on the rise. For build­ing mate­ri­als, gar­den equip­ment and sup­pli­er deal­ers, sales data from the US Depart­ment of Com­merce reports an 7.6% increase from March YOY sales. 

This is despite the fact that the entire glob­al work­force, includ­ing home improve­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and pro­fes­sion­als, has changed when it comes to doing busi­ness-as-usu­al,” with most sales teams work­ing from home. 

COVID-19 and Construction: DIYer and Home Improvement Contractor Behavior

The home improve­ment indus­try has felt a sig­nif­i­cant impact from the COVID-19 cri­sis. Many res­i­den­tial projects have been delayed — or have stopped altogether.

The Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) has part­nered with The Farnsworth Group to pro­vide man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers with con­sis­tent updates specif­i­cal­ly on COVID-19’s impact on the home improve­ment indus­try.

Accord­ing to our research, there are a cou­ple of rea­sons for this stop­page: While health con­cerns of the home­own­er and con­trac­tors remains the lead­ing cause of delays, finan­cial con­cerns of the home­own­er have increased.” Con­trac­tors aren’t able to cut costs for their clients, just to stay in busi­ness. Many con­trac­tors report that they expect the project delays to last at least a month.

While projects have slowed for pro­fes­sion­als, home­own­ers are stay­ing busy with DIY projects, which are eas­i­er as most are spend­ing the entire day at home. Hav­ing more time at home is the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on DIY projects. This is the pri­ma­ry rea­son so many home­own­ers are start­ing projects.”

While it’s great news to see any pos­i­tive trends in pur­chas­ing, there’s more pres­sure for retail­ers to keep sell­ing to low­er bud­gets. Con­trac­tors can only cut so many costs for their home­own­er clients, and DIY­ers will be look­ing for ways to spend stim­u­lus checks or to pass the time while they’re at home.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers might be moti­vat­ed to offer more bud­get-friend­ly solu­tions to win clients, but there are also a few long-term solu­tions they can put in place for long-term success.

Why Research Matters During the COVID-19 Crisis

All of us are stay­ing at home more than usu­al, which means we’re also online a lot more.

Accord­ing to HubSpot’s data, cus­tomers are research­ing brands more heav­i­ly online and ini­ti­at­ing more online inter­ac­tions with busi­ness­es today than they were a year ago.”

But cus­tomers shouldn’t be the only ones doing research. This peri­od of uncer­tain­ty and unknown is when it is essen­tial for home improve­ment com­pa­nies to have up-to-date infor­ma­tion about their cus­tomers.

HIRI, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute, can help pro­vide you with this infor­ma­tion. We can pro­vide data on which prod­ucts are most com­mon­ly used by DIY and Con­trac­tors and keep mem­bers armed with new research results on what projects DIY­er are com­plet­ing and what they expect to com­plete.

Right now, behav­iors in home improve­ment are chang­ing con­stant­ly, along with what DIY­ers and con­trac­tors pur­chase, how they pur­chase and where they pur­chase. If you don’t know that infor­ma­tion, you won’t be able to tar­get and mar­ket to your audi­ence effec­tive­ly.

Now, more than ever, you need to get in front of your cus­tomer, ensure they know who you are and what you have to offer them, to be able to make the sale now and in the future. As a HIRI mem­ber, you’ll be kept up to date on foun­da­tion­al home improve­ment infor­ma­tion — and access to this infor­ma­tion that could make or break your com­pa­ny dur­ing a stren­u­ous time such as this.

Home Improvement Product Category Online Search Shifts

Mem­bers not only get access to final reports, but they also get access to raw data and webi­na­rs, to ensure you ful­ly under­stand every­thing the research is telling you.

For instance, in a recent HIRI spon­sored webi­nar, Grant Farnsworth, The Farnsworth Group, and Zach Williams, Ven­veo, dis­cussed the cur­rent state of research by DIY­ers and con­trac­tors and how it affects search results. We found a large uptick in search results for most home improve­ment seg­ments, and we were able to give spe­cif­ic infor­ma­tion on seg­ments that were espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant to our mem­bers. Plus, we opened the webi­nar up to ques­tions so that any specifics or clar­i­fi­ca­tions could be addressed.

Know What To Expect Next

COVID-19’s impact on home improve­ment has been sig­nif­i­cant, but we’re see­ing the con­struc­tion indus­try adapt in new and dif­fer­ent ways. By under­stand­ing the needs of their cus­tomers and mar­ket­ing to them effec­tive­ly, man­u­fac­tur­ers can attract more busi­ness over the long haul.

HIRI serves the home improve­ment indus­try and works with lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, retail­ers and orga­ni­za­tions to make bet­ter busi­ness deci­sions based on real data.

Stay on top of what’s hap­pen­ing in today’s indus­try and get up-to-date research on the impacts of COVID-19 by sign­ing up for HIRI’s newslet­ter. Or become a mem­ber and gain instant access to all of our COVID research and webi­na­rs.

Our HIRI mem­bers get the com­plete reports week­ly that include age and region for the DIY­ers study with curat­ed sum­ma­ry insights and see seg­men­ta­tion by region and busi­ness size for each ques­tion for the Con­trac­tor study. Click here to become a mem­ber today.

Stay Informed

Sign up for the HIRI newslet­ter to stay informed about the research we’re con­duct­ing, home improve­ment indus­try trends, and infor­ma­tion on our upcom­ing Home Improve­ment Insights Summit.