UPDATED: January 18, 2022
As 2022 begins, it sure does feel like we’re still living in 2020. While some companies and people have adjusted to this new norm, there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding how business owners in the home improvement industry should operate in this COVID-19 limbo. Are things looking up? Are things looking down? Should home contractors continue building their pipeline?
Even though home builders have experienced supply chain issues which have made life difficult and slightly unpredictable, sources show that the home improvement industry continues to hold steady. In fact, the demand from homeowners has been nearly unaffected. We’re taking a look at some of the trends we are seeing and will give you some insight into how we think these trends will impact your business.
Trends in Customer Engagement and Sales
Surprisingly, through 2020 and 2021, we saw the growth rate in home improvement jump to 13.9%, as opposed to 8.2% in 2016 to 2020. This was a pretty encouraging statistic to uncover, especially as we continue to plan for 2022.
Additionally, customers are communicating with companies and spending just as much time planning for future projects. The demand for home improvement projects is continuing to skyrocket, meaning the need for increased communication for effective lead generation and conversion is higher than ever.
What does this mean for home improvement companies?
- With quarantines being moved to an individual basis instead of statewide lockdowns, you're more likely to have a meaningful conversation with homeowners that results in a set appointment. This means you can start building your pipeline, even if they're not ready to start their project now - pushing to later in the year seems to be working for most contractors.
- Since travel is difficult and full of uncertainty, you'll find a lot of homeowners spend their summer vacation funds in other areas. This is a great conversation starter to open the door - offering deals around financing can get your foot in that door to keep the conversation going.
- Now is also the time to boost your customer engagement via communication. Keeping your customers in the loop with their projects, answering questions they might have about their living arrangements during a project or providing excellent customer service are all great ways to meet customer expectations.
This is a perfect real-life example of how a conversation like this can go.
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 is seeing requests for estimates tick back up to normal levels.
"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 weeks."
Trends in Google Searches
With Google's trends tool, we did some research into volumes of certain terms and phrases for the last two years.
The phrase "remodeling" has been trending upwards, especially in 2021, as people begin to recover from the rocky beginnings of the pandemic. With the steady rise in interest for remodeling, we can make the assumption that home projects are back on homeowners’ minds.
Google search trend for "contractors near me"
The phrase "contractors near me" has seen a surge in searches since the initial drop and uncertainty after lockdown. This indicates that homeowners are looking for home improvement professionals to tackle their projects that are a bit too involved for the average DIY. Check out the serious surge we saw in early 2021! We expect to see another surge in 2022 as the market ramps up again after the holidays and start of the new year.
The phrase "window replacement" is steadily trending upwards, with the highest search volumes occurring at the end of March all the way into August of both 2020 and 2021. We normally see these numbers spike in warmer weather due to the ability to have open air during the day, when the temperature is moderate and tolerable.
The phrase "roofers" is a bit erratic (people tend to search this term more on weekends), but it has steadily trended upwards since the initial lockdown in early March 2020. As people recover from the economic hardships of 2020 and the seller’s home market of 2021 and 2022, homeowners are ready to invest in the larger home projects they have been putting off. This increase in demand is leading to an increase in communication between home contractors and homeowners.
What this data tells us is that people are taking notice of projects around the house and are starting to consider and compare options. Not to mention, 81% of shoppers will research a product online before purchasing, which makes sense when you see the trends for these popular search phrases and terms. If homeowners are searching for these services, they are definitely ready to have serious conversations about their project.
As demand continues to surge, many home improvement companies will fail to process this higher demand. In fact, 79% of contractors have trouble following up on unsold leads. This statistic alone shows how automated lead generation and activities are more important than ever. Not to mention, the ease of text communication for leads means this follow-up is easier for the contractor and homeowner than ever.
For home improvement companies, continuing to operate 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. By using Hatch App to communicate safely with your customers, track your real-time ROI, and provide a better customer experience all around, you’ll be set for success to handle the influx of home improvement projects we expect to see in the near future.