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How COVID-19 is Affecting the Home Improvement Industry

March 25, 2020

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We're living in quite an unprecedented time and, understandably, a lot of home improvement companies have come to us with questions like:

  • What's an essential business as opposed to a non-essential business?
  • What does quarantine mean for my scheduled home improvement projects?
  • How can I still connect with my customers?

The good news? Despite shutdowns and quarantines, data from multiple industry sources shows that the home improvement industry has actually held steady over the last few weeks.

Essential vs. Non-Essential

We've monitored state-by-state regulations and found that home improvement companies are considered essential businesses.

This means that you are still able to operate at full capacity. In fact, some companies are working this into their messaging:

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Trends in Customer Engagement and Sales

Originally, we thought that shelter-in-place regulations would mean a downtrend for home improvement as a whole.

While sales are down, customers are communicating with companies and spending just as much time researching for future projects. 

In our platform, we compared week-over-week numbers for the last two weeks. Here's what we found:

 

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As we mentioned, sales are down with market uncertainty, but what we found interesting is that engagement rates and the average sales price for projects being sold are actually up.

What does this mean for home improvement companies?

  • With quarantine in place, you're more likely to have a meaningful conversation with homeowners. This means you can start building pipeline, even if they're not ready to start their project now.
  • You may want to start focusing on nurturing projects with clients who have higher quoted amounts. We suggest focusing messaging around federal interest rate cuts to make the project more economically viable on their end. Here's a real-life example of how this conversation can go (this conversation actually resulted in a sale).

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Trends in Lead Generation

We recently sat down with our partner Modernize, a website that matches homeowners with home improvement contractors, to see how inbound requests were affected.

According to marketing manager Taylor Engstrom, Modernize has only seen a 2% decrease in leads from February to March.

 

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"When we analyzed month-over-month data, we found that project requests didn't drop much at all," said Engstrom. "We understand that homeowners are in their homes and thinking about potential projects that they've been putting off."

"With most of their time at home, homeowners are starting to source estimates for projects within the next few months."

Trends in Google Searches

With Google's trends tool, we did some research into volumes of certain terms and phrases for the last 90 days. What we found was that there were no significant drop off in searches related to home improvement.

 

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"Home improvement" actually towed the line on averages and was seemingly unaffected by COVID-19 news.

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"Window replacement", while down slightly, held fairly steady as well.

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"Roof repair" saw a huge upstick in searches (even outperforming the bulk of February) and has held quite steady over the last few weeks.

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This is the one that caught our eye - the phrase "home DIY" saw its highest volume of searches on Saturday, March 21.

What this data tells us is that people are taking notice of the projects around the house and starting to consider and compare options.

For home improvement companies, operating lean and keeping a steady hand on the wheel is important now, but putting a plan in place now to take advantage of the post-COVID-19 resurgence is absolutely crucial.

 

Be Sure to Check Out Our Digital Toolkit

Our team recently compiled a list of tools to help your business navigate COVID-19. Be sure to check it out, and download our free eBook with even more strategies to help you through this unprecedented time.

 

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