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With homeowners spending an increasing amount of time at home with shelter-in-place orders across the United States, they are also more likely to discover areas of their home needing improvement. According to The Freedonia Group, a large portion of homeowners are filling their idle time with do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects, such as kitchen and bathroom remodels, repainting and reflooring projects, and outdoor living space projects.

Unadjusted retail sales at building materials and distributors and other related sales outlets posted a 25% increase from February to March 2020, according to monthly sales data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Such sales were up 10% over the comparable levels in March 2019. The Freedonia Group reports sales have increased the most for projects that are best suited for DIY projects, including paint and wallpaper, luxury vinyl tile, laminate flooring, decorative tile, and outdoor furniture and grills.

Amid the spike in sales, some states are closing all or part of retail stores to quell large visiting crowds and adhere to social distancing protocols. For example, in Michigan, home improvement stores have been deemed essential but must close areas dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint.

Cleveland-based research organization The Freedonia Group's COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker is keeping tabs on the impact of the global health pandemic and what it means in several product markets, including cabinets, countertops, outdoor furniture and grills, plumbing fixtures, and outdoor kitchens.