How did COVID-19 change home improvement online purchasing?

Online purchasing, while bolstered by the pandemic, remains largely consistent with trends tracked in 2019.

To examine how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced online purchasing of home improvement products, the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) surveyed 500 qualified respondents. The Online Home Improvement Consumer survey, completed in May 2021, highlighted in-store versus online dynamics, online product research, general online purchasing habits, and the modern consumer’s path to purchase.

Here are four key insights.

  1. Purchasers between 18 and 34 years old showed the biggest increase in online shopping, growing the percentage of purchases made online from 58% in 2019 to 66% in 2021. Meanwhile, online purchasing by shoppers ages 35 to 54 jumped from 49% to 58%. Those 55 and older remained unchanged, and 23% of this group said they would never consider buying home improvement products online.
  2. Amazon remains the lead outlet for home improvement purchases, with a 63% shopping rate. Compared to 2019, home centers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s increased 13% and 8%, respectively.
  3. The ability to touch and feel products is in-store shopping’s biggest draw for consumers. More than two-thirds of respondents reported the desire to go and look at items as one of their top reasons for shopping in-store.
  4. On that note, some products, such as tools and fixtures, are more commonly purchased online than other product categories such as lumber and HVAC. Tools are purchased online more often, likely because they are relatively standard. Meanwhile, lumber is not purchased online very often, likely due to higher shipping costs.

To gain full access to results from this study examining online buying attitudes, log in or join HIRI today.

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