Starting mid-March, The Farnsworth Group and Home Improvement Research Institute began tracking DIY behaviors being impacted by COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Six months later we have learned several important results.
Contractor’s Concerns Shifting To Material Availability
Overall, optimism around the contractor market continued through September. While concerns around COVID have lessened to some degree, health and safety continue to be top of mind with contractors and homeowners alike. That said, material availability and homeowner financial concerns are emerging concerns that have been building month to month.
News of Recent COVID Spikes and Continued Financial Concerns Among Homeowners are Causing Longer Project Delays
Since June we have seen a flattening or slight decrease in project delays due to COVID, especially in smaller firms. Larger firms, working on larger projects are taking the brunt of cancellations and delays mostly due to homeowner financial concerns.
As such, we are seeing the length of reported project delays grow from 1-3 months to over 3 months by over 40% of contractors.
Availability is Driving Purchase Behavior
Channel behavior continues to be a tail of two firm. All contractors are buying more online without question. However, larger firms have a much more balanced mix of in-store and online. The is very important when you think about your pro customer and who you are targeting
What is driving online purchasing aside form health concerns? Availability. 43% of contractors said they purchased online because their supplier did not have what they needed in stock. Supply chain is going to be a critical topic when it comes to Pro and DIY customer experience.
Summary: Good News…Project Activity Continues to Increase
Regardless of firm size, over the past 6 months, we see more contractors reporting an increase in project activity and fewer reporting a slowdown. In the face of COVID spikes, looming economic and political concerns, homeowners are still looking at their homes as safe havens and contractors are increasing their workload as a result.
Health/safety and financial concerns are still top of mind for homeowners, which impacts Contractors. Product availability will continue to be a major disrupter as it affects both project activity and purchase behavior.
Manufacturers and channel partners must address, fix, and effectively communicate availability issues to homeowners and contractors in order to stay relevant. Understanding how these groups feel about your product(s) and services will be critical in understanding how to improve your brand and market share.
Contact us to discuss how we can help your organization make better strategic decision about your brand, product, and customer through customized research.