Over the past several years, wellness and health have taken center stage for individuals and families across the country. A heightened focus on these elements has made its way into various aspects of life, including the home improvement industry.
People are increasingly concerned with wellness at home and how to achieve that by incorporating the right materials and products into their homes during remodeling projects. According to a joint study by our team at The Farnsworth Group and Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, indoor air quality has become a priority for homeowners when it comes to wellness design. Managing household dust and pet dander, mitigating pollutants, and removing or prohibiting toxic materials are also concerns that influence what products and materials they purchase or integrate into residential remodels.
How has COVID-19 Altered Concern About Healthy Housing Issues?
Healthy housing was already a growing concern prior to COVID-19, with millennials particularly aware of the building and interior design products they are using, where they are sourced, and what they are made of. This concern has created an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to produce and carry the types of building and home improvement products that improve occupant health, safety, and wellbeing. This trend is especially prominent among millennials, the primary generation now entering the homeowner market for starter homes.
Air Quality is Top of Mind
According to the Healthy Home Study, almost two-thirds of homeowners surveyed view air quality as a concern in terms of the impact of their home on their household(s) health, safety and wellbeing.
About 52 percent also listed contamination of air by bacteria or viruses as a problem.
Meanwhile, concerns about structural and equipment deficiencies that relate to the safety and comfort of their home; damage from natural disasters; and flooding, moisture and mold are still concerns, but they’ve been outpaced by worries about air quality and disease transmission.
For example, when discussing the reasons behind their concerns, about 46 percent of homeowners mentioned the health symptoms or diagnosis of household member(s), and about 41 percent listed COVID-19 exposure risks as the reason for their concern.
What Demographics are Most Concerned about Healthy Housing?
Young homeowners and homeowners with children tend to be more concerned about their residence posing a risk to health, safety or accessibility. These buyers have higher purchase intent when faced with messaging that speaks towards a healthy home concept like improving occupant health, safety, lifestyle, convenience and overall well being.
Only 29 percent of homeowners 35 years and younger said they were completely “unconcerned” about health impacts, compared to 37 percent of 35- to 55-year-olds and 56 percent of homeowners 55 or older. Only 31 percent of homeowners with children were “unconcerned,” compared to 50 percent of homeowners without children. Renters have similar attitudes.
This data suggests there is a steady and permanent shift in the home improvement industry toward increased demand for products and materials that promote home health, safety and wellbeing, with a full two-thirds of up and coming home owners and remodeling project customers reporting some level of concern about their home’s health, safety, and accessibility risks.
What Healthy Home Products are in High Demand?
About a third of home remodeling projects in 2021 involved installing energy efficient appliances. Indoor air quality monitoring systems and water filtration systems were also among the most common products incorporated into renovations.
Homeowners also shared what projects they plan to undertake in the future. Top of mind projects involve
- Energy efficient windows and doors
- Whole-house air exchangers/filtration/purifiers
- Energy efficient appliances
- Indoor air quality monitoring systems
- High-efficiency HVAC systems
- Renewable energy installation
- Water filtration systems
- Green remodeling projects
Coordinate your product development and go-to-market strategies accordingly.
Consumer Home Health Trends for the HVAC Industry
In particular, the HVAC industry must continue adopting particular practices and products to address the growing concerns of homeowners around residential health and wellness. That could include installing HVAC systems that include air purification mechanisms that can remove viruses along with other contaminants.
Other products and methods to improve residential air quality include sensor bathroom vent fans, smart air quality management systems, UV-based systems, integrated cooktop-vent hood technology, and advanced filtration with higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) ratings. In terms of interior design, homeowners also will be looking for building products and materials that don’t emit toxins.
How Consumers Are Researching Home Health Building Products
It's also helpful to note how homeowners are learning about remodeling for health, safety and wellbeing. The most common way for homeowners to learn about remodeling projects or products is through Internet research; this is a resource for approximately 70 percent of homeowners. About 52 percent also rely on referrals from family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, and roughly 30 percent view social media as a resource.
Even if you’re working primarily with big box stores and other major distributors, consider what information you’re sharing on your website to drive various forms of project based demand. Become visible when researchers are determining what project to focus on. Then provide adequate and helpful details about your health conscious products. This project first marketing approach will improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), and can build trust with homeowners during their research phase, making them more likely to incorporate your home improvement products into their home.
Preparing to Meet Demand for Healthy Housing Products
Several factors can impact home improvement trends, and often, they’re driven by a combination of factors. While healthy housing concepts and products were already on the rise, consumer demand for home products that improve health, safety, and occupant wellness has continued.
As your building materials company evolves to address this growing adoption, consider what questions you need answered through customized market research. The Farnsworth Group specializes in findings for the home improvement industry including insights into customer usage, attitudes and motivations, market sizing, product development and how you can better position your brand in your particular market. Learn more.
Book a complimentary 30 minute slot with our team to review key insights from the entire Health Home Report and discuss the implications you should leverage in your specific product subcategory.