The ease and convenience of finding instructional information online; the prevalence of social media; a desire to save money by attempting small indoor and outdoor home improvement projects.
All of these factors are shaping the way that property owners with a penchant for DIY conduct research and shop for home improvement materials, not to mention how they choose which types of projects to take on.
Our market research firm provides home improvement manufacturers and suppliers with customized research specific to their needs to better understand DIYers. We also provide the industry with a pulse on DIYer sentiments and purchase behaviors in various ways - namely through our DIYer Monthly Tracker and through our annual Building Products Customer Guide. This data can help you look forward to how the home improvement industry is likely to evolve—and how it will stay the same—in the coming years.
DIY Home Improvement Trends and Statistics
In order to access the DIY market, it’s important to understand its demographics, as well as the motivations, behaviors and trends influencing different groups within the market. Let’s unpack this group of home improvement product buyers.
1. About 73 percent of Millennials are DIYers
Millennials are leading the DIY sector of the home improvement industry in 2022. They are more active DIYers than homeowners who are Gen X or Baby Boomers—which means, in general, they complete more projects and purchase more products. However, Gen Z is coming into the mix, and will continue to do so in the next three to five years.
Even now, a significant number of 18- to 24-year-olds are showing a likelihood to complete DIY projects when moving to their first home. That doesn’t mean these individuals will take on any home improvement project. Due to a lack of experience, they tend to leave plumbing, HVAC and pest control projects to professionals.
2. About 3 in 4 Homeowners DIY
Young homeowners approach projects opportunistically and younger homeowners are more likely to DIY. This trend has been going on for generations. Younger DIYers get excited about attempting a home improvement project on their own when the timing is right and it fits with their assumed skill level. Many DIYers are also motivated because they think this approach will be more cost-effective than hiring a contractor. The nationwide housing crunch is also affecting the home improvement industry. The younger generations have fewer housing options, which means they are more likely to move into older homes that need fixing up. When doing DIY projects, they are looking at ways to optimize the ROI. Older generations, who are less active with DIY because of bigger budgets and less comfort accessing how-to knowledge online, focus primarily on modernizing their properties.
3. About 50 percent of DIYers are Handling Exterior Home Improvement
Younger homeowners will continue to invest in their homes as they gain equity and are largely kept out of traditional stock investment options. Outdoor projects and outdoor living spaces are top of mind for Millennial and Gen Z demographics and thus pose an opportunity for targeting DIYers.
According to our report, nearly half of the DIYers surveyed invested in lawn and garden products in the preceding three months, a 5% increase from 2020. As young homeowners continue to pursue a balance of indoor-outdoor living, building decks, outdoor entertainment areas, gardens, pathways and other exterior amenities will be popular home improvement projects. In general, along with outdoor care and upkeep, DIYers do smaller projects, like replacing hardware and painting.
4. 14 percent of DIYers Forego a Purchase When Their Product is Unavailable
Now, this statistic is one to really take to heart as a home improvement marketing team. About 14 percent of DIYers reported they didn’t make a purchase for their home improvement project at all when the product they wanted was unavailable. DIYers are more likely than professionals to simply purchase nothing and save the money, or postpone a project.
Your organization MUST collaborate across departments for order fulfillment and customer service alignment so that marketing efforts are not being wasted. Further, if availability issues have plagued your company’s bottom line, then marketing efforts to collect prospect’s information for sending in stock notifications should be a top priority.
Typically, when DIYers can’t find a product, they’ll go to a different retailer, get the item back-ordered and wait for it, and try a different product or brand instead. In fact, about 25% of DIYers reported purchasing a different product when their original preference was out of stock.
5. 77 percent of DIYers Use Home Improvement Store Websites for Research
Online research is a growing trend among DIYers across demographics and regardless of product category. Their main sources of information besides home improvement store websites include Google or other search engines, Amazon, and the manufacturer’s website. When researching online, DIYers focus on product information, availability, pricing and reviews. They also read technical documents and installation guides in advance or zoom in on imagery to see specific product features.
Simply ask your kids and grandkids to evaluate the online experience for your products; in doing so, you’ll see just how interactive Millennial and Gen Z demographics require your online resources to be.
6. 55 percent of Millennial DIYers Use YouTube for Home Improvement Information
39 percent of Millennials use Facebook for home improvement research and 26% use Instagram—compared to 9% and 2% of Boomers—and Gen Z is even more dependent on this resource. YouTube is especially popular because young DIYers can easily access how-to tutorials and product demos that they use to accomplish their home improvement goals. Instagram and Pinterest are large sources for project inspiration.
How is your brand leveraging social? What do DIYers look for within your category? Make sure you align with the information needs specific to your product to ensure your content delivers.
7. 64% of Gen Y DIYer Home Improvement Purchases Were In-Store
While DIYers conduct a majority of research digitally, they’ll also visit stores to fill in the gaps with things they can’t do online, like touching the product and comparing aesthetic options. And DIYers are still purchasing a majority of their products at a physical location. However, online purchases increase the younger the DIYer. 36% of Gen Y home improvement purchases were online in 2021 vs. 27% for Gen X and only 11% among Boomers.
You must understand your customer audience in great detail because it will have an impact on your distribution strategy. Where are your customers shopping vs buying? How well do your marketing efforts combine digital and physical mediums?
8. Up to 20 percent of DIYers Try New Brands
Over the past year, roughly 15 to 20 percent of DIYers purchased a new brand, with smart home/home automation devices, major appliances, flooring and cabinets/countertops topping the list. DIYers have three main drivers for purchasing a new brand: the new brand was on sale (33%), better product quality (32%) or the new brand was cheaper (28%). Carrying sentiments from our 2021 findings, DIYers in general are comfortable using new brands and switching brands.
9. 40 percent of DIYers Prefer to Make Contact Via Email
Unlike construction professionals and architects, DIYers are doing home improvement projects on the side. They have numerous other professional and personal responsibilities and activities begging for their attention. To make contact with them, email continues to be the best method. It gives these busy individuals the opportunity to respond at their convenience. In-person contact is also a preferred method of contact—especially among Baby Boomers—and mobile apps are on the rise.
10. The Consumer Market for the Home and Building Products Industry Will Grow by Roughly 2.3 percent from 2023 to 2025
According to findings by The Home Improvement Research Institute, the home improvement industry saw about 10% year over year growth during 2020 and 2021. The rate of growth will start to slow by comparison in the years ahead as
- Expendable income is now going towards other passions
- Home owners are calling on professionals to complete those big projects that they didn’t feel comfortable attempting
- Inflation keeps certain projects out of reach for the time being
Connecting with DIYers for Home Improvement Projects
Determining how to position your building products among various DIY segments is a constantly moving target. Conducting regular market research to understand your buyers, evaluate your brand messaging, and determine your best go-to-market strategy will remain increasingly important.
While the above are generalizations of DIY behaviors and attitudes, you can learn more about how DIYers are responding to forces within your specific building product category by booking a consultation.