The home improvement market has been shook up quite violently in the last decade. There are numerous trends which influence and impact the market. The first that comes to mind is online buying and omnichannel developments. These developments are in turn strongly driven by digitalization. Amazon already has a big market share in some countries, but specialized online retailers like ManoMano are having their impact as well. Recently, they also entered the UK market and it will be very interesting to see how they stack up against the already existing pure online players and the traditional DIY chains.

There is also a slow moving trend towards DIFM and an increase of importance of the ‘multiskiller’ conducting these kinds of jobs. With multiskillers we mean that the jobs outsourced by the consumers are done by non-traditional professionals or semi-professionals.  All of these developments impact the touchpoints during the buying process. This is the theme of the new Q2 2017 report of the European Home Improvement Monitor, a research among 26,400 European consumers in 11 countries focusing on the home improvement market conducted by USP Marketing Consultancy

The full report covers all relevant touchpoints and more, but I would like to focus on the sources used by consumers during the purchase process, split between offline and online channels. The image above shows the European average. We focused on home improvements projects above 500 Euro and looked from a DIY chain and manufacturers perspective.


Offline channels

European consumers think the most helpful sources when purchasing home improvement products offline are staff in a store (58%), brochures from manufacturers (25%), brochures for a DIY store (20%), displays at the shelves (19%) and information touch screens (13%). Overall the sources used are still very traditional, but it’s interesting to see that information touchscreens are already mentioned by 13% of the consumers.


Online channels

European consumers think the most helpful sources when purchasing home improvement products online are the website of the DIY store (43%), the website of the manufacturer (39%), Google (32%), Facebook (16%), a direct chat on the website (14%) and Twitter (4%). It’s very interesting to see that the websites of the DIY stores and manufacturers are still very important. Furthermore, Facebook and direct chat are seen as useful by a quarter of the consumers. Especially when it comes to direct chat, this is a very interesting trend to monitor.


What this means

Although this is an European overview and there are country specific differences described in the full report, it’s clear that the traditional information sources used by consumers in the buying process are still very important. There are however ‘new’ information sources, like direct chat & Facebook, that are already used during the buying process and could have a high growth potential.

Furthermore one could argue that there is great potential in a more ‘digital’ experience in the offline channels and a more ‘personal’ experience (like direct chat) in the online channels. The two should become more merged and more in sync in order to offer the best shopping experience and keep competitors like Amazon at bay.

For manufacturers, it’s clear that maintaining a strong website geared towards consumers is very important, these websites are frequently used by consumers and are a very important touchpoint/influence point. Due to digitalization and omnichannel, direct pull marketing towards the consumer is becoming increasingly important. Relying too much on one channel will no longer work, due to the growth in the amount of touchpoints. The possibilities of selling more direct to the consumer (more than what is happening now) also requires a strong direct pull marketing effort towards the consumer.

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