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Where Are Homeowners DIYing Projects?

Wondering where in their homes owners are planning to spend money in the next quarter? We surveyed over 3,000 homeowners to find out just that. Check out our newest infographic to learn more.

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How do project planners connect with home improvement brands?

Within the past year, much has changed for the home industry. In March, the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) reported unprecedented shifts in home improvement trends as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve also seen the economy and housing market improve as vaccines become more widely available in the United States.

But as normalcy returns and consumers begin to spend more, how are they approaching home improvement project planning, and how do products and brands fit into the picture? Thanks to the Home Improvement Consumer Project Planning survey, we have some insight.

Every quarter since 2012, HIRI has surveyed approximately 3,000 homeowners about their plans for home improvement in the coming months. The results for the first quarter of 2021, gathered January 7–13, provide crucial insight into how project planners feel about searching for and choosing products.

Here are some key takeaways.

  • Despite what feels like an enormous digital lifestyle shift, gathering recommendations from friends and family and shopping in person remain the top-ranked sources for finding home product information.
  • But online research is still a relevant factor, as social media, retailer websites, review websites and manufacturer websites each ranked as important for 20% to 30% of survey respondents. In fact, only 18.7% of respondents said they do not research products online before going to the store. Regardless of the method for online research, it is clear that most project planners are likely to use the internet in some capacity to gather home product information.
  • Interestingly, regardless of whether shopping in person or online, respondents reported that product placement does not have a significant influence on their purchasing decisions. This means that shoppers do not believe they buy products due to their prominent display location or high-ranking position in online search results.
  • What are the factors that most heavily influence consumer product purchasing decisions? These include prior use, aesthetics and availability. Survey respondents ranked having used the product before, liking the way it looks and being in stock as the three most important factors when choosing a home improvement brand. Online ratings and reviews followed as a close fourth, and recommendations from friends and family ranked fifth.
  • Even as we begin to recover from the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it comes as no surprise that buyers place a high degree of importance on products that promote a healthy home. American-made products and those that will make life easier as consumers age are also critical to respondents.

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DIY Remains the Most Common Project Method for Homeowners

While some homeowners are DIYers, others prefer to hire a contractor for any major home improvement projects. How do the numbers compare, and what factors drive homeowners’ decisions to tackle the work or hire professional help? Luckily, HIRI has conducted various surveys that can help answer these questions.

What we have found from our surveys, DIY remains the most common project method, as 68% of respondents said they are completing projects themselves. Furthermore, the decision to take on a home improvement project over hiring a professional often depends on the overall cost of hiring a pro, with 65% of respondents reporting they chose the DIY route in order to save money. On the other hand, professionals are most often utilized when projects require either a specific skill set or are too large or complicated to do on their own.

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Home Improvement Project Planner Trends

What influences project planner purchases when choosing products and brands? The answers might be different than you think.

See HIRI's infographic on what project planners told us about how they make decisions on products and brands.

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Consumer Project Intent: Q1 2021 Updates

Each quarter since 2012, Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) has surveyed approximately 3,000 homeowners for its Home Improvement Project Intent Tracking Survey. The survey asks homeowners which of 32 different home improvement project areas (if any) they are planning in the next three months. It also explores to what extent they agree with statements about their homes and home improvement. The goal of these surveys is to better understand consumer project sentiment.

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COVID-19 Impact Tracker: February 2021 Takeaways for Home Improvement

To provide manufacturers and retailers with consistent updates regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the home improvement industry, Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) partnered with The Farnsworth Group to develop the COVID-19 Impact Tracker. Since March 2020, our team has conducted regular research to understand the pandemic’s effect on purchasing behaviors of home improvement professionals and DIYers.

The February 2021 results reflect survey responses from 1,000 DIYers and hundreds of contractors.

Here’s what we learned...

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Home Improvement Project Planning Q42019

NEW: Q4 2019 Updates on Consumer Project Sentiment

Project planning is defined as any work homeowners are planning to do around the home in the three months following the quarter in which they are surveyed. There are 33 possible home improvement project areas (32 specific projects and “other”) that are covered in the study, ranging from room renovations to roofing, driveway or walkway installation or repair to plumbing or electrical projects to lawn and garden upgrades.

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5 Key Factors Driving Consumer Project Decisions

5 Key Factors Driving Consumer Project Decisions

Homeowners are increasingly enthusiastic about investing labor, time and money into their homes for interior and exterior improvements.

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Homeowner Top-Priority Projects

What projects are top-priority for homeowners in 2019?

The quarterly Project Sentiment Tracking Survey tracks project plans across 32 home improvement project areas. From planned project execution to planned budget, results from 3,000 homeowner responses shed light on motivations and where in the home your potential customers have planned or upcoming projects.

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Which route do homeowner go-DIY or Pro

Want valuable DIY and pro insights for your business? Based on data from three proprietary Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) studies, the Trends in DIY and Pro Home Improvement report may be exactly what you need.

Study Highlights

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Homeowners planning fewer projects

Why are American homeowners planning fewer home improvement projects?

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Outdoor Spaces-Planned Projects for 1st Qtr

Outdoor Spaces Have Most Planned Home Improvement Projects in Coming Months

It’s only January, yet American homeowners are already gearing up for spring. According to the Q4 2018 Project and Sentiment Tracking Survey, which surveys adults in the United States about their planned home improvement projects, outdoor living spaces will feature the most activity in the next three months. More than one-quarter of homeowners surveyed indicated they will take on lawn and garden and/or landscaping projects during this time.

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Project and Sentiment Tracking Study Released

This quarterly report examines planned home improvement activity across 30 project areas such as room renovations, roofing, lawn and garden updates, driveway repair, plumbing and electrical projects. This first quarterly report of 2018 also marks the beginning of a new tracking element. The Home Improvement Research Insitute (HIRI) added a question regarding planned budgets for home improvement projects. The newest addition revealed that less than half of all planned projects have budgets.

Join HIRI to obtain the most up-to-date consumer information with trends from 2012 to 2018.  

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Low-Cost Home Improvement Projects Fuel Strong Spending

While homeowners are reducing spending in some areas, they aren’t shying away from home improvement projects. According to the Home Improvement Research Institute’s (HIRI) 2017 Project Decision Study, nearly 40 percent of homeowners are increasing their home improvement spend, undertaking two to three home improvement projects on an annual basis.

Homeowners are still price-conscious, however. In fact, the median total spend on home improvement projects is just $500 to $590, and consumers are often paying out-of-pocket by cash or check.

These projects, while on the lower end of the cost spectrum, happen more frequently and thus contribute to a large portion of total spending. Price plays an important role in the decision-making and material selection process, and some homeowners will shop around to find the best price. They are also more likely to undertake a project rather than postpone it if they are offered financial incentives.

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Homeowner Project Planning Lags Again, but Change Could Be Around the Corner

After a second quarter drop in homeowner project planning, the third quarter of 2017 followed suit. Though normally a strong project planning season, this quarter is the lowest of the year to date. The lag is partly due to odd weather patterns, such as unusually significant rainfall, that have impacted homeowner projects. Exterior painting and exterior door and roof projects also experienced a major drop. Meanwhile, lawn, garden and landscape projects remained the top projects across the nation.

These findings are based on interviews with about 3,000 homeowners. Of those, 68 percent plan to undertake one or more home improvement projects within the next three months, down 5.6 percent from this time last year.

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