Testing Home Improvement Assumptions

Testing Home Improvement Assumptions

Testing Home Improvement Assumptions

With a background in home building and do-it-yourself projects going back to my childhood, testing home improvement assumptions during the pandemic has been a big curiosity. I had immense interest in our latest survey project – the 2021 Axiom Homefront Insights Survey.

I grew up with an avid do-it-yourself dad. Some of my first DIY memories include helping him and his friends insulate and drywall our garage. I watched as they used a cherry-picker lift to trim the poplar trees in our yard. In middle school a few years later, I earned my DIY stripes helping to pull electrical wires through the attic when he wired the new home he built.

In college I paid for a spring break trip working on a framing crew building homes. After college and now a homeowner, I’ve remodeled houses and designed and built three homes. While contractors did much of the work, I did most of the work finishing the basements.

Testing Home Improvement Assumptions

Naturally, home improvement and its relationship to the pandemic piqued my interest when we began discussing topics for our next survey project. All kinds of research was done last fall about the pandemic fueling a DIY surge in 2020. We set our sights on forecasting what’s beyond that. Ignited by COVID-19 in 2020, how and what is driving homeowners’ plans for home improvement in 2021?

Interestingly, the under 40 crowd self-reported as DIY experts at a relatively high rate.

– Axiom 2021 Homefront Insights Survey

Our team set out to test a few calculated assumptions.

  1. Work and school moving home in 2020 motivated homeowners to adapt their space to use in new ways
  2. Due to the increase in home improvement, contractors were not readily available, which led to increasing numbers of projects ending up as DIY in 2020
  3. With distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, people would spend less time on home improvement projects as they resume other activates.

What we found

Only 32 percent of respondents reported not being able to find a contractor. This was lower than we expected and would indicate that many projects were taken on for reasons other than lack of available contractors. However, it also means that nearly 1/3 of homeowners had the motivation and desire to do a project, could not find someone to do it, therefore took it on themselves.

The survey showed that work from home doubled in 2020. Since people were home more, 30 percent more home improvement projects were started and completed last year. We also learned that the work-from-home trend is shifting from temporary to permanent for many people as indications are this will continue into at least Q4 of 2021.

Outlook for 2021

Even with a vaccine available, a majority of respondents reported they will continue with their home improvement projects this year. Just 10 percent of respondents reported they plan to spend less time on home improvement in 2021. Additionally, the outside of the house is nearly as important as the inside. In 2021 outdoor projects, like decks and landscaping, are being planned at the same rate as indoor projects.

A key finding for me is also the temperament for taking on projects among the over-55 crowd. This group perceived their DIY experience as relatively low. I expected this age group to self-report their experience higher. However, our CTO Rob Beachy speculates this is because “the more you learn, the less you know.” True enough. Interestingly, the under 40 crowd self-reported as experts at a relatively high rate.

This week, we’ll be attending IBSx – the virtual International Builders’ Show. Look for us during the show. We hope to connect with many of you in the next few days.

If you’d like to learn more about the state of home improvement in 2021, download The 2021 Axiom Homefront Insights Survey. If you have specific questions about your customers, their purchase intentions, and more, contact us at (952) 224-2939. You may also be interested in the gardening. Check out our 2021 Garden Survey – Gardening in a Covid-19 World, completed in December.

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