New Survey Sees Move Away from DIY Projects

Baltimore— Fewer Americans have plans to engage in “do it yourself” (DIY) home improvement projects through the balance of 2008, while they are more likely to have others do the work for them – a pattern that’s likely to continue into 2009, based on current market conditions.

That’s the key finding of a recent survey conducted by Vertis Communications, a Baltimore-based provider of marketing and related services to leading retail and consumer services companies.

Vertis Communications’ recently released “Customer Focus 2008: Home Improvement Study” revealed that of the 81% of Americans planning some form of home improvement project in 2008, only 44% indicated they would “do it themselves,” down from 56% in 2006. Furthermore, 37% revealed plans to have someone else do the work for them, up from 30% two years ago.

Female decision-makers age 25-34 are most responsible for this trend, falling to 32% in 2008 from 59% in 2006, Vertis Communications reported. Female decision-makers age 18-24 also decreased in terms of their DIY plans, from 48% in 2006 to 29% this year, Vertis said.

Not surprisingly, Vertis’ study revealed that, in 2008, costly home improvement projects are less likely to be completed. For example, only 7% of survey respondents indicated they planned to install new siding or roofing in 2008, compared to 12% in 2004. Similarly, the percentage of Americans with plans to build a deck also declined, from 10% in 2004 to 7% in 2008.

Furthermore, only 11% said they would install new windows or doors, compared to 14% of respondents that did so back in 2004.

However, Vertis noted that its latest consumer survey found that the sluggish economy has not drastically impacted Americans’ overall desire to take on the three most common home improvement projects.

Landscaping, interior painting and remodeling a kitchen and/or bathroom are nearly as popular in 2008 as they were in 2004, the company reported. The percentage of household decision-makers who indicated they will remodel a bathroom or kitchen dropped only one point, from 18% in 2004 to 17% in 2008, Vertis noted.

“While we have seen a significant drop in the amount of women who look to ‘do-it-yourself’ home improvement, Americans in general are still embracing the idea of completing home improvement projects despite this difficult economic period,” said Scott Marden, director of marketing research for Vertis Communications.

“This environment fosters Americans’ feverish hunt across all media for the best possible deals when making purchases. For home improvement retailers, the need to employ strong multi-channel marketing efforts is undeniable.” 

The Vertis study, which surveyed 3,000 respondents via the telephone, also revealed the following:

  • The number of adults who say the Internet influences their  purchase of home improvement products has increased – from 4 percent to 9 percent – despite decreases in other media categories. While research points toward an increased focus on online media, printed advertising inserts and circulars lead the way as the most influential medium when deciding what home improvement materials to buy, according to 27% of respondents. Television is second, at 19%.
  • Big-box retailers are the most popular option for consumers shopping for home improvement products. Vertis reported that 57% of home improvement decision-makers stated they turn to large home improvement stores first when purchasing items to assist with household maintenance.
  • Thirty percent of home improvement decision-makers selected “having a retailer close to home” as the most important reason in determining a store for their home improvement shopping needs.

Source: Vertis Communications, Vertis Customer Focus; Retail 2008

Consumers are moving away from DIY for their home improvement projects, opting instead to hire a professional, according to a new survey by Vertis Communications.