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News I published 17 November 2022

People still do many home improvement projects, also after the pandemic

The pandemic was a huge boost for the amount of home improvement people did. Consumers had more reason and time to do DIY jobs because of being at home more due to corona restrictions. On top of that, they had more budget available for home improvement, budget that would otherwise be spent on going out or on holidays. That boost in DIY jobs done disturbed the otherwise rather rigid trends in the home improvement market.

The amount of home improvement jobs done has always been majorly affected by seasons, with the amount of jobs done increasing to peak in spring/summer, and then decreasing and reaching a minimum in winter. During the pandemic, however, those seasonal effects seemed to disappear, as the amount of home improvement jobs done stayed stable at relatively high levels. The question is how the situation develops now that the influences of the pandemic have finally diminished.

Despite uncertain times, the amount of home improvement projects has not decreased 

Some expected that absent corona restrictions and in the light of new crises like Russia’s war in Ukraine and the consequent energy crisis, the number of home improvement jobs done would decrease. It would be understandable if, in these uncertain and rather expensive times, people would postpone their projects and spend less on home improvement projects.

However, as the results of the Q2 2022 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor show, the amount of home improvement jobs done has not decreased as much as many expected. In the first two quarters of 2022, the market actually stayed quite stable and seems to slide back into the trusted seasonal patterns from before the pandemic.

It has to be said though that, although Q1 2021 was higher than the same quarter in pre-pandemic years and even than during the pandemic, the amount of home improvement jobs done in the second quarter of 2022 is actually slightly lower than in previous years. But despite the fact that consumer confidence is low and inflation is high while a war rages in Ukraine, the home improvement market seems quite stable for now.

But nowadays, home improvement jobs are more expensive 

When looking at the amount of money people spend on a home improvement job, things have changed somewhat. We saw a slow decline in spending on home improvement projects since Q2 2021, reaching the minimum of 119 Euros spent on average on a home improvement project in Q1 2022. In Q2 2022, there is a slight increase again, but it remains to be seen whether that will last.

It is important to note that in these few quarters, both labour costs and inflation have increased significantly. The nett result is that, for the amount people spend on home improvement projects on average in the second quarter of 2022, they can buy fewer products and less labour than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Home improvement jobs and budgets are still at a higher level than before covid though

It is important to realise that all these figures on current amounts of and spending on home improvement jobs are based on a comparison with last year, meaning a year of the pandemic in which these were exceptionally high. Compared to that, less money may be spent per home improvement job, and the amount of those projects may be somewhat lower, but on average, it is still more than before COVID hit.

As for future developments, it very much depends on how the war and energy crisis develop and to what extent governments will be able to stave off the decline of purchasing power of consumers, for instance by establishing gas price ceilings. If these measures can keep people’s disposable income at a stable level, we expect the home improvement market to stay stable as well, at a slightly lower level than during the pandemic, but a slightly higher level than the years before.

For a full overview of developments in the home improvement market in 11 European countries, and a special focus on the purchase channels used for several home improvement product categories, we refer you to the Q2 2022 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor.

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