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Despite the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the home improvement industry has shown remarkable growth beyond other categories since mid-March. Early projections suggested the home improvement industry would be negatively impacted by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders because of widespread layoffs and a decrease in discretionary spending. However, as homeowners sheltered-in-place, their relationship with their homes changed and inspired many to complete home improvement projects that otherwise would have been postponed.

A recent study conducted by Houzz found that more than half of homeowners in the midst of home renovation projects mid-March continued their renovations during the pandemic and nearly 80% of homeowners planned on completing home improvement projects in the short term. U.S. Census Bureau data suggests that from March to June, home improvement-focused retail sales have grown 11.8%, while overall retail sales have decreased by 3.6%.

A study conducted by research and consulting firm Consumer Specialists found that 57% of homeowners completed a home improvement project from March to May. On average, remodeling homeowners spent $1,750 on projects and said time was the primary driving force behind their home improvement efforts. Nearly half of the respondents to the Consumer Specialists survey said their time at home made them more aware of areas that needed upgrading in their homes and two-thirds said the time afforded by sheltering-in-place was the top reason for completing projects while quarantining.

“We were surprised just how many ways COVID-19 has impacted home improvement,” Fred Miller, president of Consumer Specialists, said in a news release. “In terms of consumer attitudes and how they behave, there has never been a single force that has had a greater and enduring impact. It is important for all businesses involved in home improvement to understand these changes and make appropriate adjustments.”

When compared with a similar study conducted in 2019, Consumer Specialists found more homeowners were planning to complete home improvement projects, with all eleven projects tracked showing positive year-over-year (YOY) interest among homeowners. The most popular areas for projects according to Consumer Specialists are bathrooms, kitchens, landscaping, and gardens. The report found the internet has increased as both a source of information for homeowners when researching whether to hire a contractor or complete the project without professional help and as the preferred method of getting products needed for home improvement projects.

The Consumer Specialists report is based on an online survey of 603 nationally representative U.S. homeowners completed in June 2020.

The full study, “How COVID-19 Is Reshaping the Home Improvement Market,” is available for purchase from Consumer Specialists. The full report includes analysis on how homeowners’ outlooks for home improvement projects have changed since last year, how homeowners’ approaches to projects have changed, and how homeowners believe the pandemic has impacted their home improvement behavior.

The results of the Consumer Specialists report mirror results on similar studies conducted on home improvement behavior and attitude during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Bank of America poll found 70% of Americans decided to tackle a home improvement project during the pandemic, with even more planning projects for 2021, while a LightStream report found nearly three-quarters of homeowners were still planning to complete a project in 2020 despite the pandemic. An ANGI Homeservices report found that homeowners planned to use coronavirus stimulus money to help tackle projects, and the desire to hire professionals remained high.