2021 Home Improvement Insights Summit: 7 Takeaways

  • Categories:

    Industry Insights

  • Date:

    October 14, 2021

2021 Home Improvement Insights Summit: 7 Takeaways



Industry Insights

If you work in the home and building category, you’ve probably heard of the Home Improvement Research Institute. The nation’s top resource for market research concerning the home improvement products industry, HIRI provides business leaders and marketing professionals with data and insights to help make informed business decisions.

HIRI held its annual Home Improvement Insights Summit conference virtually September 21–23, and people from all over the country tuned in to hear top industry experts discuss how to stay ahead of the changes impacting home improvement. Topics included exclusive secondary research, insights on shifts within the channel, key market drivers and changes in product and project preferences.

Did you miss the conference, or do you need a quick refresher? Here are seven quick takes from the Wray Ward Insights team.

1. Housing affordability is likely to decline as we enter 2022.

    Supply-side challenges are increasing residential construction costs. Rob Dietz of the National Association of Home Builders predicted that even once building material prices begin to normalize, skilled labor shortages will persist. These factors, in turn, will make entering the market for first-time buyers and minority buyers increasingly difficult.

    2. Demand for home improvement professionals will continue to grow.

      COVID-19 shifted how homeowners view the spaces they live in. The pandemic-fueled need for more homes to do double, triple and quadruple duty (serving as an office, gym, daycare and more) created a surge in DIY remodeling.

      Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing at Houzz, said more than half of homeowners took on projects themselves in 2020. However, as most of these improvements wind toward completion and people become more comfortable with the idea of having others in their home, expect a 60% increase in demand for professional contractors. This means the professional home and building products market can also expect further growth.

      3. 2022 will be a transitional period.

        As we shift into a post-pandemic world, hybrid back-to-work/school models and increasing socialization may dictate design choices, according to Therese Caruso of Zeno Group. There will be some back-and-forth as people reprioritize life events and activities. For example, those who spent a lot on remodeling or decor in 2020–21 may want to spend money on travel again.

        4. Within the home environment, wellness is now top of mind.

          Delos Labs executive vice president Jie Zhao proposed that the increased emphasis on health and well-being may be one of the biggest effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 also made people more aware of their family’s wellness inside the home: From home fitness to indoor air quality, consumers are thinking more about home improvements that can positively impact the spaces where they spend time throughout the day.

          5. The pandemic accelerated rapid changes in micro generational behaviors and attitudes.

            According to Taryn Boyd at Trend Hunter, the effects of COVID-19 caused some millennial micro generations to shift away from traditional attitudes about adulthood and related milestones, such as homeownership. In general, these groups are no longer focused on who they should be, but who they want to be. Many have even accepted that homeownership may not be in their future.

            6. An omnichannel approach remains critical despite a return to in-store activity.

              Online shopping remains strong with younger homeowners and larger contractor firms, despite the return to in-store activity. In order to reach the largest market share, Grant Farnsworth of The Farnsworth Group recommends keeping multiple channels open at a time.

              7. Contractors and homeowners continue to have COVID-19-driven concerns.

                During the HIRI Summit, Farnsworth also said that availability and pricing are leading challenges preventing project completions, impacting timing and budgets, and causing most homeowners to spend more than expected. While research from The Farnsworth Group indicates it is a good time to hire a contractor to complete a home improvement project, it is important to keep in mind that the lasting impacts of the pandemic are still extremely present and real.

                Want to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving forces shaping the home improvement industry? It starts with a strong strategic foundation. Email me to get started.

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