The Impacts of COVID-19 on DIYer and Pro Behavior

The impacts of the current pandemic are widespread, and the construction industry (and its economy) is no stranger to its effects. The impact of COVID-19 on home improvement projects has become a challenge for many manufacturers and retailers.

A few purchasing trends have changed significantly, especially with DIY projects and research around home improvement products. If you’re selling to DIYers and home improvement contractors, there are a few things to note when it comes to selling your product during the current COVID crisis. 

Overall Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behavior

The stay-at-home orders and quarantines in place across the world have disrupted economic activity in the last few months, but online shopping (and purchases) are on the rise. For building materials, garden equipment and supplier dealers, sales data from the US Department of Commerce reports an 7.6% increase from March YOY sales. 

This is despite the fact that the entire global workforce, including home improvement manufacturers and professionals, has changed when it comes to doing “business-as-usual,” with most sales teams working from home.  

COVID-19 and Construction: DIYer and Home Improvement Contractor Behavior

The home improvement industry has felt a significant impact from the COVID-19 crisis. Many residential projects have been delayed — or have stopped altogether. 

The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) has partnered with The Farnsworth Group to provide manufacturers and retailers with consistent updates specifically on COVID-19’s impact on the home improvement industry. 

According to our research, there are a couple of reasons for this stoppage: “While health concerns of the homeowner and contractors remains the leading cause of delays, financial concerns of the homeowner have increased.” Contractors aren’t able to cut costs for their clients, just to stay in business. Many contractors report that they expect the project delays to last at least a month.

While projects have slowed for professionals, homeowners are staying busy with DIY projects, which are easier as most are spending the entire day at home. “Having more time at home is the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on DIY projects. This is the primary reason so many homeowners are starting projects.” 

While it’s great news to see any positive trends in purchasing, there’s more pressure for retailers to keep selling to lower budgets. Contractors can only cut so many costs for their homeowner clients, and DIYers will be looking for ways to spend stimulus checks or to pass the time while they’re at home. 

Manufacturers and retailers might be motivated to offer more budget-friendly solutions to win clients, but there are also a few long-term solutions they can put in place for long-term success.

Why Research Matters During the COVID-19 Crisis

All of us are staying at home more than usual, which means we’re also online a lot more. 

According to HubSpot’s data, “customers are researching brands more heavily online and initiating more online interactions with businesses today than they were a year ago.”

But customers shouldn’t be the only ones doing research. This period of uncertainty and unknown is when it is essential for home improvement companies to have up-to-date information about their customers. 

HIRI, the Home Improvement Research Institute, can help provide you with this information. We can provide data on which products are most commonly used by DIY and Contractors and keep members armed with new research results on what projects DIYer are completing and what they expect to complete. 

Right now, behaviors in home improvement are changing constantly, along with what DIYers and contractors purchase, how they purchase and where they purchase. If you don’t know that information, you won’t be able to target and market to your audience effectively. 

Now, more than ever, you need to get in front of your customer, ensure they know who you are and what you have to offer them, to be able to make the sale now and in the future. As a HIRI member, you’ll be kept up to date on foundational home improvement information — and access to this information that could make or break your company during a strenuous time such as this.

Members not only get access to final reports, but they also get access to raw data and webinars, to ensure you fully understand everything the research is telling you. 

For instance, in a recent HIRI sponsored webinar, Grant Farnsworth, The Farnsworth Group, and Zach Williams, Venveo, discussed the current state of research by DIYers and contractors and how it affects search results. We found a large uptick in search results for most home improvement segments, and we were able to give specific information on segments that were especially relevant to our members. Plus, we opened the webinar up to questions so that any specifics or clarifications could be addressed. 

Know What To Expect Next 

COVID-19’s impact on home improvement has been significant, but we’re seeing the construction industry adapt in new and different ways. By understanding the needs of their customers and marketing to them effectively, manufacturers can attract more business over the long haul. 

HIRI serves the home improvement industry and works with leading manufacturers, retailers and organizations to make better business decisions based on real data. 

Stay on top of what’s happening in today’s industry and get up-to-date research on the impacts of COVID-19 by signing up for free HIRI’s weekly newsletter. Or become a member and gain instant access to all of our COVID research and webinars.

Our HIRI members get the complete reports weekly that include age and region for the DIYers study with curated summary insights and see segmentation by region and business size for each question for the Contractor study. Click here to become a member today.

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