Have you taken on extra DIY tasks during the pandemic?
Many of us have sought new ways to improve our properties while being cooped up indoors over the past year or so. A surge in renovations has been reflected by increased home and garden retail sales, while tradespeople have also found themselves in greater demand.
The home renovation and construction industries are indeed rare bright spots in the UK economy right now.
From kitchens to home offices, garages and outdoor areas, extended stamp duty savings are also helping many homeowners to spend more on sprucing up.
And with the government extending the Green Homes Grant while planning to build more homes in urban areas, these positive trends only look set to continue.
Trade businesses responding to evolving customer habits
For many DIY and home improvement businesses, the pandemic has simply brought forward a digital transformation that may have otherwise taken place a few more years down the line.
Many DIY retailers have introduced new services such as ‘click and collect’, with similar numbers carrying out website upgrades, accepting new payment methods and embracing data analytics. Some have even created new roles to boost online capacity.
Much of this has of course been driven by our need to keep a distance from one another by buying a wider variety of goods and services online.
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, sales of plants and paint increased by close to 50% year-on-year. Building material sales rose by over 30%, while demand for tools such as heat guns, drills and saws jumped by almost 15%.
With restrictions likely to remain in place for the first half of 2021 at least, many people will be pushing on with renovation projects and keeping suppliers and tradespeople busy.
A bright future for the construction sector
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, home improvement firms are among the most upbeat over what the future holds. 80% are confident of revenue growth in the short term, while various government plans are creating further cause for optimism moving forward.
The extension of the Green Homes Grant has been designed to give households and tradespeople further time to benefit from subsidised energy-efficient upgrades. The scheme is set to support 100,000 jobs across the UK according to government estimates while helping homeowners save on measures such as insulation, glazing and low-carbon heating.
Another initiative that’s hoped to boost our economic recovery is the building of more family homes in cities. Some 300,000 are targeted to be ready every year by the mid-2020s, offering long-term stability to many in the building sector while helping high streets recover.
Despite ongoing societal uncertainty, it appears that adaptation and proactive planning could help the home improvement and construction sectors come out the other side even stronger.