HIRI Homeowner DIY Projects HERO

Top Findings of 2020: HIRI's Insights on the Home Improvement Industry

Dec 16, 2020

2020 has been a chal­leng­ing year across all indus­tries, and home improve­ment has been no excep­tion. With so many home­own­ers at home, the demand for home improve­ment prod­ucts and ser­vices explod­ed, while the sup­ply chain strug­gled to keep up with that demand.

Let’s look at the top find­ings from HIRI’s home improve­ment indus­try research this year.

2020 Was the Year of the DIY Project

If you look at inter­net search trends, paint” reached its all-time search high in April of 2020.

HIRI Summit 2020 Paint

Home­own­ers spent more time on DIY projects this year than in the last few years, as the idea of improv­ing a liv­ing, work or play space was top-of-mind for many home­own­ers this year. It makes sense, with every­one stay­ing in their pods” and home-bas­ing (the trend of stay­ing at home instead of going out). Many home­own­ers also found the need to cre­ate an office space, due to many employ­ees being forced by cir­cum­stance to work from home this year.

HIRI 2020 Summit Kitchen

Data from con­sumer pur­chas­es indi­cate a large increase in DIY project activ­i­ty, thanks to stay-at-home orders and home-bas­ing trends.

At HIRI’s Sum­mit this year, we explored the trend in home­own­er pur­chas­es and DIY projects in 2020, and Nick with Trust­ed Media helped atten­dees under­stand this activ­i­ty. Accord­ing to research from Trust­ed Media, 85% of their Inner Cir­cle” sur­vey respon­dents said their home was their num­ber one invest­ment.

If they’re stay­ing home more fre­quent­ly and are spend­ing mon­ey on some­thing, it is like­ly on a remod­el­ing project. And that’s because many home­own­ers are think­ing ahead, beyond the pan­dem­ic.

It’s some­thing they’re improv­ing and can hold onto, but hope­ful­ly some­day cash out on to do some­thing else,” Nick explains.

Shopping Channels Have Changed

HIRI 2020 Summit Wallet

Peo­ple are invest­ing in their homes, and, for the same rea­son they are stay­ing home in the first place, they are most­ly spend­ing that mon­ey online. Accord­ing to HIRI’s retail study, there’s been a big surge of online pur­chas­es and curb­side pick­up this year.

HIRI’s Retail Selec­tor Study asked 2,000 home­own­ers about their pur­chas­ing deci­sions in the last few months. Home­own­ers have had to nav­i­gate COVID restric­tions when shop­ping for any of their DIY projects.

The num­ber of in-store pur­chas­es are down by 20% from 2018 data, but the num­ber of online and curb­side pick­up pur­chas­es went up in 2020.

In fact, 21% of home­own­ers in HIRI’s sur­vey bought their prod­ucts online.

HIRI 2020 Summit DIY most Recent Purchase

Housing Market Numbers Are on the Rise

HIRI’s Recent Home Buy­er Study revealed some inter­est­ing insights around home buy­ing this year. I think this is a real­ly impor­tant thing to look at right now,” explains Grant Farnsworth.

The hous­ing mar­ket has cer­tain­ly been some­thing to watch this year:

  • The major­i­ty of recent home buy­ers (60%) pur­chased their home in 2020 (out of the last twelve months).
  • Low­er home mort­gage inter­est rates this year helped to moti­vate many pur­chase decisions.
  • Sur­pris­ing­ly, COVID wasn’t a deter­rent for many home-buy­ers. In fact, 66% of recent home buy­ers not­ed that the pan­dem­ic had no impact on their deci­sion to buy a home.
HIRI 2020 Summit Why Home Purchased

It’s also note­wor­thy that 21% of HIRI’s sur­vey respon­dents said they planned to buy or sell their home in the next 12 months. We’ve seen this almost dou­ble from pri­or sur­veys,” says Grant.

COVID Takes a Toll on the Pro Market

HIRI 2020 Summit Tool Belt

Indus­try research shows that COVID has affect­ed pro­fes­sion­al con­trac­tors and oth­er home improve­ment busi­ness­es a bit dif­fer­ent­ly than home­own­ers this year.

While there’s been a rebound in the sales of home improve­ment mate­ri­als and sup­plies, those prod­ucts are like­ly going towards the DIY projects that home­own­ers have tak­en on while home-bas­ing. Home­own­ers pre­ferred to do most of their projects them­selves, instead of let­ting a pro­fes­sion­al inside their home.

How­ev­er, even for pro­fes­sion­als with a full dock­et, there were com­pli­ca­tions.

Most pro­fes­sion­als saw issues crop up in the sup­ply chain, as man­u­fac­tur­ers and deal­ers strug­gled to get mate­ri­als and parts from over­seas. Pro­fes­sion­als were also forced to shop for many prod­ucts online because of COVID restric­tions. Sup­plies were often low because of delays in the indus­try and demand in the home improve­ment mar­ket.

While a grad­ual reopen­ing of the econ­o­my was under way, ris­ing case­loads through­out the U.S. have caused many pro­fes­sion­als to slow down the pace of recov­ery in their busi­ness. And project requests have been low­er than usu­al, since many home­own­ers have been tack­ling their own bath­room remod­els or paint jobs.

But there’s a bright side: DIY­ers are much less like­ly to tack­le jobs like HVAC main­te­nance or an elec­tric repair project. They’ll call a skilled pro­fes­sion­al instead. And the trends of home-bas­ing and stay­ca­tion-ing aren’t going any­where. With home­own­ers spend­ing more time at home now, they’ll need help main­tain­ing or repair­ing those spaces.

How Retailers and Home Improvement Companies Can Adapt

If there’s one guar­an­tee in the home improve­ment sec­tor, it’s that things will always change. But home improve­ment com­pa­nies can plan on a few trends to stick around:

  1. Home-bas­ing isn’t going any­where, and many home­own­ers want long-term solu­tions so that they can stay in their homes longer.
  2. That means they’ll want high-qual­i­ty prod­ucts and ideas for main­tain­ing their homes. Home­own­ers will want a return on this impor­tant invest­ment when it even­tu­al­ly comes time for them to sell.
  3. In-store pur­chase num­bers are down from 2018: Research indi­cates pur­chas­es have dropped by 20%. Online research and shop­ping, how­ev­er, is on the rise.

These trends are all sig­nif­i­cant, and home improve­ment com­pa­nies that want to help their cus­tomers should take note.

Brands can adapt to their cus­tomers’ needs by lever­ag­ing their web­site: An online pres­ence means you can pro­mote prod­ucts that help these home­own­ers and pro­fes­sion­als com­plete their projects. Offer ser­vices to help them get the job done, or share inspi­ra­tional pho­tos and instal­la­tion videos to give them resources for their projects.

Hope for the Industry Lies Ahead

There are still uncer­tain­ties around the pan­dem­ic and its con­se­quences on the home improve­ment indus­try. But many are look­ing ahead with opti­mism and work­ing to rebuild from the loss­es expe­ri­enced this year.

For home improve­ment retail­ers and orga­ni­za­tions who want to stay on top of trends and pre­pared for what lies ahead in 2021, HIRI offers a mem­ber­ship with access to over $850,000 worth of indus­try data and pro­fes­sion­al insights.

Or you can take a look at some of our oth­er reports on home improve­ment research.

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