The pandemic was as strange a time for the home improvement market as it was for any and all. Due to COVID restrictions, physical stores were closed or only open in a limited capacity during lockdowns of various lengths in almost all European countries. Meanwhile, instead of being careful with their spendings in uncertain times, European households actually did more and spent more on home improvement projects than ever before.
This resulted in an enormous leap in online purchases of home improvement products, for instance at pure online stores. The share of purchases at pure online stores only grew very slowly with around one percent per year on average until the pandemic boosted that share to a peak in 2021. The question is what would happen with that share of purchases at pure online shops after the pressure of the pandemic and restrictions eased?
Purchases of home improvement products at online shops remained at 11%
We monitor the development of purchase channels in the home improvement market by focusing one quarterly report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor per year on it. For the Q2 2022 report, we asked 6,600 European consumers of home improvement products in eleven European countries about their purchasing behaviour.
Their answers show that the share of purchases of home improvement products at pure online shops remained at 11%, the peak share of last year, and has not increased further. This more or less falls in line with our expectation that the share of purchases from pure online shops would stabilise at a higher level once the pandemic was over.
Interestingly, the current share of 11% also falls in line with what we would have expected based on growth trends before the pandemic. Had the pandemic not happened, our expectations would be that with a growth of one or two percent per year, the share of home improvement products purchased at pure online shops would also be 11% in 2022. Now that the pandemic is over, we expect the share of pure online stores to continue growing at the rate of the pre-pandemic trend again.
Germans and younger consumers tend to buy online the most
These figures are based on all categories of home improvement products and on purchases in all of the 11 European countries we measured together. Looking at different countries, however, major differences occur. In 2022, almost 20% of home improvement products were purchased at pure online stores in Germany, for instance, while that share was only 5.6% in France.
Looking at product categories, these shares vary even more. Power tools are bought at pure online channels the most, in about a quarter of the cases. On the other side of the spectrum of home improvement products bought online, paint is only bought at pure online shops in 7% of the cases. On top of that, purchasing online is very much related to the age of the purchaser. The share of younger consumers (18-34 years old) purchasing through online channels is almost twice as large as the share of 55+ consumers purchasing online.
These variations show that it pays to know the purchasing behaviour of your target groups in the specific areas you operate in detail. For an overview of the purchase channels consumers of home improvement products use for several product categories in 11 countries, we refer you to the Q2 2022 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Home Improvement Monitor.