Analyzing potential for the home improvement industry

An uncertain economy, low consumer confidence, suppressed home sales, and an increase in consumers deferring their home improvement purchases may make for a shaky future for the home improvement industry, but according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, there is hope for growth in the near future, but it lies in the hands of manufacturers and retailers.

“In order to grow their share in the home improvement environment, manufacturers and retailers need to look toward innovation, and the basics of effective and efficient merchandising to uncover the opportunities, including deploying the promotional deals consumers want,” said Kevin Gilbert, director, The NPD Group.

According to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, in August 2011, nearly three quarters (74%) of consumers strongly agree that coupons and special deals are the deciding factors when it comes to purchasing home improvement products; a number that has increased over the past year.

“E-commerce is an increasingly important aspect of today’s home improvement marketplace. As the popularity and value of online shopping increases, manufacturers and retailers need to make sure they are part of the trend in order to capture consumers,” said Gilbert.

Online sales of home improvement products have grown 16 percent in the 12 months ending August 2011 according to NPD. In addition, 39 percent of home improvement sales were researched online beforehand.

While overall sales of home improvement products are still showing declines year over year, there is subtle growth emerging in some categories. Despite the uneven economic recovery, lighting and electrical category, fans, hand tools, and lawn and garden products are all heading in a positive direction.

“Understanding the industry, the consumers, and the competition is as important as ever. Putting the basics to work, along with an in-depth knowledge of what is happening in the home improvement market, will help manufacturers and retailers navigate their way through this still, uncertain time,” ended Gilbert.

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