DIY Trends Impacting the Home Improvement Industry in 2024

DIY Trends Impacting the Home Improvement Industry in 2024

We regularly study DIYers from across the U.S. about what has shifted in how they research, find, select and purchase building materials products. Here’s a look at what various generations of DIYers had to share about how they intend to go about home improvement projects in 2024.

The Farnsworth Group regularly asks DIYers from across the United States what has shifted in how they research, find, select and purchase building materials products.  

Here’s the latest look at what key segments of DIYers had to share about their experiences embarking on home improvement projects and purchasing building products. The results from the full study of DIYers are included in the 2024 Building Products Customer Guide along with results from builders and remodelers, specialty tradespeople, and architects.

DIY Market Size in the US

The DIY market represents nearly 100 million households (across both renters and homeowners). In 2022, the DIY market was worth just under 6 billion dollars according to market analysis conducted by IHS Markit on behalf of the Home Improvement Research Institute.

The Farnsworth Group remains confident in opportunity among DIYers performing repair, maintenance and remodel projects in 2024 due to current market forces creating low homeowner mobility.

Understanding Your Customers

There are distinct differences in project research and product purchase behaviors among the three primary generations of home improvement customers – Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials.  

Understanding Baby Boomers That DIY

“Baby Boomers” classifies anyone born from 1946 to 1964.

Boomers tend to conduct less research before purchasing a product, likely because they are using brands and products more consistently from years of prior experience. When they do conduct research before making a purchase, 3 in 4 are researching on price and nearly all boomers are selecting products based on quality, generally based on prior experience using products.

This also means that you have less chances to get your brand in front of Boomers, so the messaging needs to be direct and specifically resonate to a Boomer's DIYing needs in their stage of life.

70% of Boomers are driven to conduct in-store product research in order to touch, see, and feel the products, compared to only about 1 in 2 of both Millennial and Gen X customers. Boomers are purchasing a larger share of building products from Lowe’s and The Home Depot (58%) when compared to Millennials (39%) and Gen X (52%).

While they are the least concerned with material prices, and least likely to delay a project due to pricing, of these buyer segments, Baby Boomers still look to get more bang for their buck when selecting building products.

In general, the purchase drivers of Boomers tend to prioritize sticking with what they know, rather than trying something new, whereas Gen X and Millennial buyers, who are increasingly price sensitive, are more inclined to shop around for their perception of the best value.

Remember, that Boomers are not the largest target market in the DIY home improvement space, Millennials are.

Understanding Gen X that DIY

“Generation X”, or “Gen X”, classifies anyone born from 1965 to 1980.

To Gen X customers, product quality and the idea of getting a good deal are primary purchase drivers. 41% of Gen X customers switched to a new brand that they assessed as better quality.

Wanting to get a good deal is different than choosing the cheapest option, however. Among Gen X customers, only 29% switched to a brand with a cheaper retail price, even though 42% switched when the new brand was on sale.  

Roughly half of of Gen Xers are driven into a store looking for sales, promotions, and other specials and half are researching products in-store to compare prices.  

When it comes to sources used to find new brands, Gen X customers are more akin to Boomers than they are the Millennials, preferring to discover alternatives in-store than through digital methods. For the 13% of Gen X customers that do conduct research using social media, in general they will conduct product and brand research on two social media platforms, while Millennials research on three platforms, and Boomers research on only one.

Understanding Millennials that DIY

“Millennials” classifies anyone born from 1981 to 1996.

The 2023 Building Products Customer study uncovered that 40% of Millennials experienced problems with frequent or very frequent material availability issues, more than did Boomers (9%) or Gen X buyers (27%).

Even still, only 7% of these Millennials did not make a purchase if they had material availability issues compared to an 11% average across buyer segments. Our findings consistently show that product, channel, and brand switching is common among Millennial DIYers.  

Further, in 2023, 53% of Millennials report following a home improvement influencer, in contrast to only 25% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers.

Among those using social media, the most popular platforms for product discovery are YouTube (54% among Millennials, 47% among Gen X, 38% among Boomers) and Facebook (40% among Millennials, 23% among Gen X, 14% among Boomers). If you can only focus on one social media platform in 2024, make it YouTube, because all three generations use this tool to conduct product research. YouTube also has high adoption among both male and female DIYers, in contrast to larger variances of adoption on other social media platforms.

Millennials find new brands on supplier and brand websites, social media, and online ads, while baby boomers are more likely to find a new brand in-store. Millennials turn heavily to digital "How To" types of content and videos through their entire buyer's journey: shopping, purchasing, installing, and upkeep.

Further, Millennials wind up making more purchases at Amazon (20%) compared to Gen X (12%) and Boomers (8%).

Yet, in-store purchases are still a purchase channel for 2 in 3 Millennial DIYers, who desire for employees to be knowledgeable about product and project recommendations, because they are less confident in their own knowledge and skills.  

Overall, DIYers of all age groups are more likely than Pros to NOT make a purchase if the building product they seek is not available. Millennial DIYers are slightly more persistent than older generations to find an alternative product or supplier in the event they encounter an availability issue.

You can get access to the entire report covering customer attitudes and behaviors among DIYers as well as architects, engineers, builders, contractors, specialty trades, and designers below:

Looking Ahead: Implications for 2024 Building Product Sales

In 2024, DIY home values will still be significantly higher than in pre-pandemic levels, but the cooled housing market and higher borrowing rates will cause DIYers to seek lower cost home improvement products.

Data compiled by our team at The Farnsworth Group, as well as data published to members by the Home Improvement Research Institute takes a similarly positive stance with moderate growth projection in 2024.

Intent to engage in a home remodeling project remains strong, with roughly half of homeowners reporting in the DIY/DIFM Home Improvement Tracker Report that they feel it is a good time to start a remodeling project that costs less than $5,000.

Do you feel it is a good or bad time to start a home improvement project?

Secondary research as is provided in The Farnsworth Group's complimentary public studies should be used as a launching point to understanding your specific customers in your specific product category and markets. Our experienced market researchers service top brands in the building products industry to uncover the most relevant information needed to inform effective go-to-market strategies.

When you conduct custom market research with The Farnsworth Group, you are equipping your product, channel, marketing, and sales teams with tangible recommendations regarding how to reach and resonate with your target audiences, which channels are your optimal channels for distribution, what your most effective product mixes are, and what areas of your business have the greatest new revenue potential. 

You also can use product pricing research and brand health and awareness research to augment these insights and identify other ways to improve your company’s position within the DIY home improvement market.