Building Material Suppliers to Target Do-​It-​Yourself Consumers

It’s not that consumers have closed the door on home improvement projects this year. But they have changed what they plan to spend money on. In large part, the spending is related to what they see as a depressed real estate market.  Based on the latest findings from the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, marketers of home improvement project materials can prepare campaigns to sell products that will be in demand this year.

While the number of consumers spending on home improvement projects remains about the same as last year (62%), the planned budget has dropped substantially. The average spending last year was $6,200. This year, the average homeowner will only spend $3,400 on projects.

About 1/​3rd (32%) of homeowners will be trying to make their homes more energy efficient. This may be an indication that more people plan to stay put and cut the expenses of heating and cooling, especially as energy costs continue to rise. Here are the numbers of consumers planning to spend on these projects:

  • Energy efficient windows/​doors: 16%
  • Insulation: 12%
  • Roofing: 11%
  • Heat, ventilating, air conditioning: 10%

Other favorite home improvement projects this year will include indoor renovations, especially in the bathroom. Only 29% of consumers plan outdoor improvements. When consumers do spend on the outdoors, it will be on landscaping (22%) and decks/patios(9%).

According to Pamela Codispoti, executive vice present and general manager of Consumer Card Services, American Express, “consumers are spending smart and looking for ways to save when it comes to home renovation.” This attitude is certainly in evidence as only 20% of consumers plan to hire a contractor to do an entire project. Most, 64%, will do  at least some of the work alone or get friends and family to help.

Retailers will likely emphasize the energy-​saving nature of many products this year. And contractors may be able to get extra mileage out of ad campaigns that promote them as ‘helpers’ for home owner projects.

[Source: Home Improvement Still on Americans' To-​Do Lists for 2011, One Third Plan to Go Green. Americanexpress​.com. 24 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.