Story at a glance:
- Home renovations are in high demand since the start of the pandemic, from outdoor spaces to the creation of home offices.
- Experts at Lowe’s are seeing increased interest in paint, new flooring, and window projects.
- Indoor air quality is top of mind more than ever, too, with IAQ solutions and overall HVAC improvements a continued concern for buyers.
Home projects were on the rise in 2020, according to HomeAdvisor, and they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. A 2020 HomeAdvisor survey indicated the average US household spending on home services rose to $13,138 in 2020; that’s a $4,000 increase year over year.
The rush to renovate has been clear at home improvement giant Lowe’s. “We have definitely seen a surge in home projects,” says Michael Albrecht, Lowe’s vice president of pro sales and services. “Initially many customers realized the need for home office spaces or ways to better define areas in the home, like their kitchens, that can typically be the gathering place for family meals, but now also a workstation or second office space.”
He says paint, new flooring, and window and other projects to enhance energy savings were also prevalent, while outdoor spaces continue to be a major focus. “Customers see their homes as a safe haven and even as COVID restrictions lighten, many will share their new spaces with their close circle of friends and family.”
According to HomeAdvisor, total projects in 2020 (including landscaping and cleaning) rose to 11 projects from an average of 8.1 projects in 2019. Bathroom remodels, interior painting, and new flooring were the top three.
As warmer weather approached in spring 2021, the experts at Lowe’s noticed a predictable shift toward outdoor projects. “Backyard entertaining space is huge right now with customers wanting to leverage discretionary spending to enhance their patios, grills, and landscape to further enjoy being at home. We are seeing increased interest in sheds, installed fencing, decking, and more as families gather at home,” Albrecht says.
Of those HomeAdvisor surveyed, 41% of respondents said their top reason for home improvement spending was to make the home better suit their lifestyle needs. That stands in stark contrast to responses in 2019, when consumers indicated that the number one home project was to replace or repair a damage, defect, or decay.
Albrecht says recent Lowe’s customers appear to be spending a lot more time researching and evaluating the products and projects they choose to take on. The company has responded with simplified selling and visualization tools like My Kitchen Planner on Lowes.com, which allows professionals and DIYers alike to envision and plan their own dream kitchen.
New this year for Lowe’s is a centralized design team that can help with kitchen, countertop, and appliance projects. “It’s easy to get started on Lowes.com, as so many customers may still prefer a professional coming to them at home,” Albrecht says. “We offer that as well for windows, doors, roofing, siding, sheds, fencing, decking, and whole house generator systems. Lowe’s also has a great initiative called Generation T, which aims to inspire, educate, and connect skilled tradespeople to apprenticeships and job opportunities with local providers in carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and appliance repair.”
Indoor air quality is top of mind more than ever, too, and Albrecht says IAQ solutions and overall HVAC improvements continue to be a top concern for Lowe’s customers. “We have several products in our stores and as part of our HVAC Installation offerings and products that can be added to any of your existing HVAC/cooling systems in your home and are really quite affordable. Most of these products leverage UV lighting to kill airborne germs and bacteria and have enhanced filtration that can also help capture allergens.”
Albrecht says overall project cost and product affordability are often customers’ biggest questions. Lowe’s still sees a large population of DIY customers, but there’s been a growing demand for installation services, too. “Our Baby Boomers are one of our largest customer segments, and they appreciate having many of those projects done for them.”
Like many experts in the industry, Albrecht expects the current trends of maximizing space and functionality to remain as many of us continue to find ways to optimize our homes for work, school, and family life. “Our homes are a safe place, and as so many make these investments and enhance their spaces, they will want to further share with friends and family.