With hindsight, this is actually not that strange. Consumers started to spend more time indoors in their houses due to lock downs and being forced to work from home. In doing so, two of the three main drivers behind the surge in home improvement jobs where fulfilled; without the need to travel to the office & limited outdoor activities, more time was available to pick up home improvement projects and by spending more time indoors consumers were confronted with possible home improvement projects much more. With this I mean that consumers, by spending more time at home, suddenly saw that the walls could use a new paint layer or that their ‘home office’ could do with some improvements.
The third element in this equation is budget. The need and time were their, but doing home improvement jobs also require money. Due to the lock-downs, consumers suddenly had more budget available, as spending on things like restaurants etc plummeted. Furthermore, the holiday season(s) were badly compromised, so less money was spend on holidays as well.
From April onward, we have interviewed consumers in 11 European countries about the impact the corona pandemic had on their home improvement behavior (full free report is accessible via our website. Link can be found in the comments below) . In April, already 19% of European consumers indicated that they were conducting more home improvement jobs then usual due to corona. This increased to 25% among millennial’s. And this effect persisted, in our latest measurement of January, 23% of the European consumers indicated that they are conducting more home improvement jobs. Again, this was the highest among millennials (31%). The majority of the jobs done throughout the last couple of months, were decorative jobs.
Not all was positive tough. One major element of the European home improvement market is DIFM or do-it-for-me. However, many consumers were and still are wary of having professionals working in their homes. In our latest measurement, 50% of the European consumers stated that they would rather postpone DIFM jobs for now. At it’s height, this was 71%. So for professionals working mostly on residential renovation projects, the corona crisis is having a clear negative effect.
Now for the key question, will this surge in home improvement jobs done continue in 2021. The short answer is yes. Our indications point towards a continued high level of home improvement jobs done. 27% of European consumers are expecting to spend more money on home improvement jobs in 2021 then they did in 2020. That being said, for the coming 3 months the share of consumers stating they would be doing more jobs is more or less the same as the group stating that they would do less jobs. This means that the amount of jobs done would most likely stay on the high level of 2020, but more money per job is spend. This could be an indication that consumers are picking up larger jobs.
So what could potential barriers be? Will first of the most obvious one is the end of the corona pandemic either due to mass vaccinations or a more organic decline of the infection rate. This would lead to more spending on holidays, going out to eat etc and thus decreasing both the time and budget available for home improvement jobs. But, this still might take some time….
Also, hard lock downs where the DIY stores are forced to close (like in the Netherlands at the moment) will have a negative impact. Even tough consumers are ordering home improvement products online at a higher rate then ever before, closure of the DIY stores will have a negative impact.
We have been supplying these reports free of charge to our subscribers of the European home improvement monitor. But we would like to share our latest report also with the rest of the industry free of charge, as it’s such crucial and interesting information and we also want to give something back to the industry.
Therefore you can get access to the full report containing all the details and additional information via this link: https://www.usp-mc.nl/en/corona-update/