Keeping an Eye on DIY: The HIRI Product Purchase Tracking Study

Homeowners and DIYers make their home improvement purchases for any number of reasons. Understanding the mindset around their purchases can help home improvement companies gain insight into their DIY customers and the decisions they’re making in order to market more effectively. 

The Product Purchase Tracking Study (PPTS) from the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) is a comprehensive survey of homeowners’ purchase behavior, characteristics and attitudes around their home improvement projects. Because the PPTS is conducted every two years, it gives HIRI members updates on contemporary trends in the home improvement industry and how their customers’ decisions fluctuate over time. 

Which Products Are DIYers Purchasing? 

The survey from HIRI delivered information on home improvement product purchases, projects and services. This comprehensive report provides insights on purchasing behavior in 14 product-specific categories. When it comes to home improvement products, there are a few notable findings:

  • Lawn & Garden and Paint & Sundries have historically been the top two most commonly purchased categories — and they remain in the top tier.
  • Homeowners are making roughly the same number of purchases in the Lumber category, but the average yearly amount spent on items is $250 higher. 
  • Homeowners have been spending the same amount on Hand Tools in the last several years, but it’s still the category with the lowest annual spend.

The average annual spending, number of purchases and overall ranking of the product categories have remained stable in the last few years. However, the individual purchase occasions are trending down, which indicates that homeowners are spending more on each purchase.  

What Kind of DIY Projects Are They Purchasing for? 

Room remodels are still a favorite home improvement project for homeowners, followed closely by painting their space. The PPTS report reveals which products are most often purchased for those projects, and the specific rooms that homeowners are tackling in their free time.

There are a few takeaways from this part of the study when it comes to DIY projects.
  • Very few homeowners will tackle a major exterior remodeling project on their own.
  • The most common remodeling projects include bathrooms and kitchens. 
  • Smaller projects like painting a room or replacing the flooring are also a high priority for DIYers.
  • For interior remodeling projects, the products most commonly purchased fall mostly in the paint, fixtures and hardware categories.

Exterior projects aren’t quite as popular as interior remodeling jobs, but some DIYers still take on projects like siding replacement or new storage builds. All of those types of projects require lumber, so you’ll note that it’s one of the top purchased products for homeowners making exterior repairs.

Landscaping remains a favorite project among homeowners and DIYers because it’s considered a more manageable task with lots of ROI: landscaping products aren’t expensive, but they help create instant curb appeal for exteriors.

What DIYers Won’t Do (and Why)

Homeowners will still pay for home improvement services instead of handling some projects on their own. According to survey responses, HVAC, Plumbing, Pest Control and Lawn Services are the most popular services purchased.

Generally speaking, homeowners will pay for services they’re just not qualified to handle on their own or that might require training to complete. Many homeowners believe that hiring a professional will yield better results.

The recent pandemic might have affected how homeowners choose to hire professionals for these services, but time will tell how popular some services will remain. Cleaning and janitorial services are in high demand in the commercial industries because of COVID-19 precautions. 

Why Bother With Home Improvement Data?

With the current state of things, it’s helpful for home improvement industry firms and professionals to understand today’s trends, with an eye on how those trends fluctuate over time. That’s why HIRI performs the PPTS every two years, to give its members a broader perspective (and more data) on the industry over time.

And for most homeowners, the desire to age-in-place is still the leading reason why homeowners take on DIY and home improvement projects. They’re thinking of long-term solutions for their homes.

Home improvement companies and professionals also need long-term solutions to help grow their business. If you want to stay on top of today’s trends and keep up with home improvement purchasing behavior (among homeowners and professionals alike), HIRI offers its members the resources they want and the data they need to make better, sustainable business decisions. 

Find out what kind of benefits HIRI offers its members by clicking here, or apply for a HIRI membership here.
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