2020 is shaping up to be a year we’ll never forget, though most of the world might prefer to move on and celebrate New Year’s early. It’s been a year of loss, a year of confusion, a year of dissociation. But the news isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s a lot of promising financial news about the way the home improvement industry is weathering the pandemic. To put it another way, our industry is doing just fine.
Recently, the Home Improvement Research Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to home improvement research, published June data related to the industry. They referred to home improvement as a bright spot in the U.S. economy. According to HIRI, “The housing and home improvement market has done much better than most and is expected to recover, moving back to 2019 levels in 2021.”(1) According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report, home improvement led the traditional retail sales sector with a 22.6% increase in year-over-year sales.(3)
The reasons for this are fairly obvious: The pandemic has presented homeowners with two very precious tools, time and proximity. People are spending a lot more time at home surrounded by potential projects, and the pandemic has presented them with a lot more time to act.
In June of this year, Consumer Specialists, a research and consulting firm specializing in home improvement-related industries, conducted a survey of over 600 homeowners in order to better understand the reasons behind the home improvement resilience. They found that 57% of homeowners completed a home improvement project between March and May. Of those, 66.9% reported having more time. Half of homeowners cited their time at home as giving them a greater awareness of things that needed doing.(2, 3)
Add to this the ongoing trend in home improvement that is driven by the growth of home sales, the age of the U.S. housing stock and the surge of homeownership among millennials.(4) We certainly can’t discount the huge influence of social media and online publishing that is making home décor, home improvement, and DIY projects more accessible and visible than ever before.
The good news, friends, is that none of the above conditions is expected to change anytime soon. People may have less money in their pockets, but they have something equally valuable, which is time and initiative. Let’s be careful not to let this opportunity slip by. There may never be a better time to enhance your product’s positioning, brand and packaging. The interest is there. Is your product ready?