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News I published 15 April 2022

More jobs means more shops – European handymen’s purchasing behaviour

In a previous article we presented an image of the average European handyman based on interviews with 1700 handymen from seven European countries. Their uniting characteristic seems to be diversity, not only because they perform a diverse array of construction activities, but also because there appear to be major differences per country.

At the same time, given the diversity of jobs handymen perform, they are an interesting target group for a wide array of manufacturers and brands of construction, installation and home improvement products. This is supported by the results of USP Marketing Consultancy’s new European Handyman Monitor, which show that European handymen are not only very numerous, they also have a fair amount of decision and purchasing power.

One main question is where handymen purchase the products they need for their various jobs? Given that handymen are a hard group to study, relatively little solid market information existed to answer this key question, which is why we focused our first European Handyman Monitor report not only on profiling them but also on their purchasing behaviour.

General construction material wholesaler is used the most

At first sight, it appears that the traditional general building material wholesaler is the favourite purchase point, as nine out of ten European handymen buy there. The fact that they spend nearly half of their budget there on purpose makes this purchase channel the clear favourite. Interestingly, the next five purchase channels in the graph, ranging from specialised wholesalers and merchants to DIY stores, are each used by roughly around half of the handymen, and they spend just under a tenth of their budget there on average.

This is where handymen contrast with for instance installers or painters. From our other monitors we know that those more specialised professionals generally use fewer purchase channels and spend a much higher share of their budget at one wholesale channel specialised in the products for their main activity. Handymen, on the other hand, tend to shop at a wider variety of channels. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, with their purchasing behaviour, handymen prove again to be more diverse.

More jobs means more shops

The above contrast between handymen and more specialised professionals is easily explained. Handymen are involved in a wider array of construction activities than specialised professionals, which means they need materials and products from a wider array of product groups. Consequently, they acquire these at a wider variety of purchase points than professionals that mainly focus on one activity.

That hypothesis of more jobs means more shops is actually also proven by the handymen themselves. As we discussed in a previous article, the number of activities handymen are involved in differs vastly per country. German handymen, who perform an average of 5.1 different construction activities, are the most specialised, whereas UK handymen, who perform 12.2 activities on average, are the most generalist handymen. These differences are reflected by purchasing behaviour of handymen in both countries. The more specialised German handymen use fewest purchase points, 3.1 on average, whereas the more generalist UK handymen also use the most purchase channels, 5.3 on average.

This does not only show that the level of specialisation influences purchasing behaviour, it shows that paying attention to local attitudes and differences is essential for manufacturers and brands of construction materials and products who aim to target these handymen. The above is but a rough sketch of the detailed roadmap necessary to reach the European handymen. For a detailed overview of their profile, purchasing behaviour and preferences, we  refer you to USP Marketing Consultancy’s 2021 European Handyman Monitor.

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