COVID-19 Fallout Swells for Home Improvement, but Relief Is Coming

  • Categories:

    COVID-19 Response

  • Date:

    April 7, 2020

COVID-19 Fallout Swells for Home Improvement, but Relief Is Coming

COVID-19 Response

Now in the first full week of April, most of the United States is under some form of shelter-in-place order, with total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country eclipsing 245,000 on April 2 and unemployment claims topping 6.6 million. Updates are fast and furious, but this post highlights top takeaways for brands in the home and building category and especially anyone responsible for marketing.

As a reminder, on a weekly basis, Wray Ward will continue to publish timely information, trends and advice related to the coronavirus.* This content can help you examine and manage your marketing activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions or want to discuss specific next steps for your brand, please feel free to contact me.

Following is a summary of trends we've seen during the past week. You can also read our full POV on the marketing impacts of COVID-19, released April 3.

1. Online sales are still growing.

    This is happening both overall and in the home category (including home furnishings and supplies) as people settle into a new normal at home through at least April 30 (Attentive). If your brand has good supply chain outlooks, this could be an excellent opportunity.

    2. The digital media landscape continues to boom across all screen types.

    With increased audiences and inventory, it’s a buyer’s market. Cost-per-click numbers are down, while engagement is up.

    3. It's a great time to publish thoughtful social media content.

    Brands that have taken a careful approach to maintaining their social media campaigns have experienced massive growth, both in terms of impressions and engagement, during the past 10 days. Overall, social media usage is surging across all platforms. Pinterest has been a top performer for Wray Ward clients as audiences continue to seek and engage with visual, home-related content.

    4. Home improvement is feeling the effects, but relief is in store.

    This week, the Home Improvement Research Institute shared projections showing a 4% decline in 2020. But the firm also predicts a 3% rebound in 2020 — and DIY should drive the recovery, as the consumer home improvement products market will drop less than the pro market. Meanwhile, Lowe’s and Home Depot remain bright spots as they continue hiring and work to manage in-store challenges in our social distancing world.

    Bullish analysts continue to predict that low interest rates, liquidity, pent-up demand and a manufacturing move back to the United States to mitigate future supply interruptions will drive a speedy recovery.

    5. Among industry players, retailers report the greatest impact from COVID-19.

    In response to a National Kitchen & Bath Association survey fielded March 18–24, designers and building construction pros rated the COVID-19 impact at 7.4 on a scale of 1 (no impact) to 10 (significant impact). Manufacturers reported the least impact at 6.8, while retailers were the highest at 7.6.

    6. Brands continue to find new ways to manage the pandemic.

    Textiles and home furnishings companies are using their manufacturing capabilities to step up production of personal protective equipment for health care workers. For example, Glen Raven began production of masks in a matter of days (the company manufactures technical fabrics in addition to Sunbrella®, so it was in position to quickly pivot to mask production).

    You can access Wray Ward’s full library of COVID-19 content at any time. If you have questions or want to discuss specific next steps for your brand, please feel free to contact me.

    *All statistics as of April 3, 2020.

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