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News I published 15 September 2021

Peak in online home improvement purchases expected to last

In previous articles we gave abundant evidence of the impact of the pandemic on the home improvement sector. We have seen that consumers had more reason, time and budget to do home improvement jobs because of being at home more due to corona restrictions. We also saw that the materials and tools necessary to carry out those home improvement projects were increasingly bought online due to the precarious health situation and shops being closed or their stocks diminished as a result of the pandemic.

As that pandemic was shared by the world entire, it seems a safe estimation that we are all ready to be done with the past year and look to the future again. In the European home improvement market specifically, that means estimating whether dramatic changes during the pandemic, like a significant but slightly forced increase in online purchases, are likely to persist or not in time to come.

Because we are as anxious as you are to know what comes next, we asked the 6.800 consumers from 11 countries who we interviewed for the Q2 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor about their outlook on the future as well. The results are now available in the Q2 2021 report, which focused on the online orientation of consumers of home improvement products, aside from the regular quarterly economical update of the home improvement market.

Almost a third of European consumers expect to keep buying online in the future

We are all yearning to go back to normal, but the normal we are about to get back to is not exactly the normal we had before this milestone pandemic started. Surely, many people that used to buy their home improvement products in shops will do so again, but some may continue to buy online.

The European jump from 27% to 37% of home improvement products bought online during the pandemic was quite dramatic. After what we have all been through, we could imagine that as we exit the pandemic, we want everything to go back to how it was before. Be that as it may, the share of European consumers that expect to continue to buy online after the pandemic is significantly larger than the share that bought online before this whole corona thing started.

Clearly though, this permanence is not as strong in every country. In countries like Poland and Italy, the pandemic seems to have awoken more online shoppers that expect to persist in the future than in Belgium, where consumers are more likely to go back to the pre-corona situation. Despite country differences though, the pandemic has definitely awoken more online consumers.

Even conservative consumers were forced to experience online convenience

A very logical explanation for a more permanent increase in online shoppers for home improvement products is that the pandemic even forced people to shop online that would normally never do so. That also means they were forced to experience the convenience of ordering from their couch, insight into stock availability, having orders delivered to their doorstep, and maybe even better prices.

The pandemic moved people to do more home improvement jobs, even people who were never into them before, and some of them have experienced the joy of it and may continue doing more home improvement projects in the future. In the same way, some people that would not even try shopping online in normal circumstances may stick to it after having been forced to experience its conveniences.

The trick for manufacturers of home improvement products is to find out the best ways to reach those people. To find out how to do that, we refer you to the Q2 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor which focuses on the online orientation of consumers of home improvement products in 11 European countries.

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