Home Improvement Retailers See Massive Success in the Pandemic

Along with baking bread and buying workout equipment, consumers have been making major investments in home improvement projects during the pandemic. When Home Depot® released their latest earnings report in August, it showed that the company has had their strongest quarterly sales growth in nearly twenty years. Rival retailer Lowe’s® also saw double-digit revenue spikes within the first few months of the pandemic. Many consumers see these types of projects as a way to stay productive as they adjust to having more free time. Additionally, having a comfortable and attractive space has taken on new importance now that we’re all spending so much more time at home.

Products meant to enhance outdoor spaces have really seen tremendous growth. After all, backyards have become an oasis for people who are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, since it’s one of the few outdoor spaces that they can enjoy safely. Items such as lawn mowers, grills, and patio furniture have been driving big-ticket sales at home improvement retailers, and swimming pools have seen such overwhelming demand that an app called Swimply (which allows users to rent out private pools by the hour) has been booming all summer.

Houzz, a leading home renovation platform, has also determined that swimming pool design and installation projects have ballooned by 334%. In addition to providing comfort and relaxation, swimming pools are part of a major trend in backyard improvement projects: functionality. While gyms, yoga studios, and other away-from-home venues for exercise have been closed due to the pandemic, swimming pools offer a way for consumers to stay fit at home.

Gardening products have also become very popular among shoppers looking to make use of their yards. These modern day “victory gardens” give homebound consumers a rewarding hobby, and they also gave many people peace of mind during the early days of the pandemic when there were widespread shortages at grocery stores.

All of this marks a really interesting shift in consumer spending that could end up having a long-term impact on the industry as a whole. Up until the pandemic hit, the dominant conversation around shopper behavior was that younger generations in general were buying less products, preferring to spend their money on experiences. The pandemic has consumers of all ages developing a newfound appreciation for their homes, and this attachment could change the way that we think about priorities in millennial marketing.

Younger shoppers have been gravitating towards products that fall under the umbrella of “wellness” and “self-care”. Under the current circumstances, home improvement brands now belong to this group. They have an opportunity to connect with consumers in a new way, becoming a greater part of shoppers’ lifestyles.

With competition heating up and demand showing no signs of slowing down, this is bound to result in some very interesting brand campaigns in the coming months. Will we see demand for fireplaces and hot tubs spike as the weather gets cooler and consumers start looking for new projects to tackle? And will all of these new projects require continual upkeep, meaning even more purchases? If the latest financial reports from Home Depot® and Lowe’s® are any indication of what’s to come, we can expect that home improvement stores will be among the busiest retailers this fall.

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