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...

Purchasing Trends Among Consumers

Home-basing and mandatory stay-at-home orders fueled a rise in DIY projects in 2020. These projects, in turn, caused a major market shift and impacted homeowners’ purchase decisions over the last several months.

The latest COVID-19 Tracker results show that while the coronavirus still plays a role, it is becoming less of a factor regarding home project motivators. Furthermore, after a flurry of activity last summer, project rates have fallen back to early 2020 numbers.

The good news is, although projects are declining from the peak home-basing period, they remain higher than normal for this time of year. Additionally, fewer project cancellations are being reported, and even fewer of those are being cancelled due to COVID-19.

Among consumers, online product purchasing has remained strong, even as COVID-19 cases have continued to drop and more businesses have reopened. Fewer consumers are reporting COVID-19 fears as the reason for purchasing online, implying a trend that may be here to stay.

Effects on Professional Contractors

Perhaps due to decreasing COVID-19 cases and an increased level of comfort with accepting others into the home, professional building work has been picking up. Leading up to 2021 and into the new year, fewer project delays and cancellations are being reported. Compared to consumers, professionals are also more readily shifting back to in-store purchasing for their supply needs. 

Most projects are said to be of equal or slightly smaller scale compared to projects pre-pandemic, yet the number of pros getting larger projects continues to grow. With hopes for widespread vaccination by the end of the summer, and as homeowners become more comfortable spending money, this trend could represent a light at the end of the tunnel.

While things are looking up for the professional home improvement industry, most still report that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their business.

Need help staying on track?

For the past year, HIRI has helped home improvement companies and professionals navigate the shifting market, shedding light on consumer spending habits and sharing guidance for making critical business decisions in a tumultuous market.

HIRI is committed to delivering regular, actionable information and resources to professionals in the home improvement industry. Our members gain insight into all aspects of the industry. Log in to get the latest studies and reports or join HIRI for access today.


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