It is no surprise that with the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown orders in place in many areas of the world, that more people have had time to spend at home. With commutes removed from the day, as well as many other tasks, it would seem that many people have turned to new hobbies or entertainment to pass their newfound time. Starting that book you have always been wanting to read, taking up knitting or remembering to do the Spanish lessons on Duolingo you have been putting off for several days, now seems the best time for many to start on the tasks that many people seem too busy for. And one such area that has seen a sharp increase is home improvement.
Be it giving the fence a fresh coat of paint, a new coffee table or perhaps some gardening, the sector has been lifted by the pandemic, as many people turn to the sector as they look to spruce up their homes.
With Home Depot announcing an increase of revenue in the first quarter of 2020, at 7% with a 20% increase in e-commerce sales in the same quarter , despite having to close and maintain limited trading hours, among other precautions, because of Covid-19, it appears that many are making the most of the time to start on home projects. Whilst some sectors have been sluggish to make the jump to operating online, many home improvement retailers have embraced e-commerce amidst the pandemic. Just in the last few years, commentators have said that home improvement retailers have needed to move to online, as not to be left behind by the changing moves in the market. And it would seem that many businesses have listened.
Just looking at the numbers would be enough convince any business. Even back in 2018, home improvement sales online had increased by 33%. Compare that to less than 5% channel growth, and it makes it clear why many needed to make the move and why those who have not most be surely regretting it.
However, many of those who have must still play catch up to the current front runner of home improvement goods online, Amazon. As reported in the link above, the online retailer held a 82% hold of the online market in 2019.
However, this has not stopped many from seeing rapid growth and revenue return this year. Overall, digital revenue for home improvement increased 51% in the first quarter of this year. From this, many individual retailers are reporting rapid growth, echoing that of Home Depot’s increase of profits. Article, a home furnishing brand that is direct-to-customer, has registered a gigantic growth in revenue for April this year at 200%, compared to last year. This is also the highest ever revenue for a single month ever recorded for the company. As an online store, Article has been able to easily adapt to change in market and has seen a rapid success.
So the big question looking forward is this: will this rise in home improvement E-commerce remain as shops begin to re-open?
As the world begins to recover, certain areas have reopened stores. And although many are operating with shorter open times and reduced capacity, to make sure both customers and staff are protected, it is a question of when, not if, stores will begin to trade as before the pandemic.
There is reason to believe that this change is not a one-time event. The home improvement sector has been growing in the last year but with such a forced break from the status quo of how goods are consumed, and the increase in E-commerce, which has been estimated to increase to nearly 50% by 2020, it may signal this a more permanent change in consumption, and not just for home improvements.