Getting Comfortable: An Unexpected Theme During The Pandemic
by Felicia Rogers
It’s no secret that when COVID-19 hit the U.S., life changed swiftly and dramatically. Most people began spending so much time in their homes that desires to spruce things up emerged almost immediately.
For many, the need to reconfigure or make dramatic changes to functionality and comfort in the home quickly came into focus. After all:
- Lockdowns kept us inside.
- Kids engaged with school from home.
- Many adults began working from home.
During all of these changes and the struggles to adjust to them, people became more aware of their surroundings and evaluated their homes more critically than ever before. This led to a huge wave of home improvements across the U.S.
What exactly were homeowners doing? Here’s a summary of activities from our ongoing Consumer Foresight: Beyond The Pandemic research.
- By mid-April 2020 (just one month into the pandemic), 40% of homeowners told us they had at least started some type of DIY home improvement project. The most common projects cited were lawn and garden projects for outdoor living. In addition, a variety of indoor spaces (living rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, etc.) were commonly improved with paint or some other form of a general refresh.
- By August 2020, this behavior was growing, with 48% of homeowners having engaged in some type of DIY home improvement project.
- In February 2021, a forward-looking question in the same research showed that 63% of Americans had plans for at least one home improvement project yet to be completed. Painting and landscaping remained the most common interests. New furniture (indoor and outdoor) was in the plans and room remodels were also commonly mentioned. Other major investments like replacing flooring, windows, roofs, central heating & cooling, and exterior facades (siding, brick, etc.) were among the intentions for some homeowners.
- Throughout the first year or more of the pandemic, people were living life both indoors and outdoors. In June 2021, our research showed that roughly 25% of Americans had shopped for or purchased an outdoor item such as outdoor power equipment (mowers, etc.), grilling/BBQ equipment, or outdoor storage or play equipment. Another 15% considered or bought home fitness equipment. More than 3 in 10 were in the market for some type of home appliance (small or large).
As we look ahead, these home comfort improvement trends are very likely to continue. According to an October 11, 2021, press release by HIRI (Home Improvement Research Institute), the home improvement sector is forecast to continue growing at least through 2025. Major renovation projects appear likely, with growth forecast by HIRI in categories like exterior siding and trim, lumber, roofing supplies, kitchen and bath cabinets, and major appliances.
Another major household upgrade in the area of home comfort – heating and air conditioning – should continue growing along with the overall trends. Under normal circumstances, these major household purchases have a very long purchase cycle. However, being home more than ever before, along with technology improvements and environmental regulations, will likely lead some homeowners to upgrade or otherwise improve their systems. Decision Analyst is currently gearing up for the 2022 edition of American Home Comfort, which will focus on changes that have taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic. This all-important industry report will be published in Q2 2022 and is sure to reveal some major changes in homeowner attitudes and behaviors.
About the Author
Felicia Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Executive Vice President at Decision Analyst. She may be reached at 1-800-262-5974 or 1-817-640-6166.
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