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.

For more in-depth data and insights about consumer purchasing decisions in Q1 2021 and beyond, join HIRI today.

Here are some key takeaways.

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