E‑commerce Plays Bigger Role in Home Improvement

BY Courtney Huckabay

Online sales of home improvement products that span everything from plumbing and hardware to storage and décor, have grown 41 percent in the 12 months ending March 2017, reports The NPD Group. The e‑commerce home improvement market reached $10.9 billion in sales for the year, according to NPD’s receipt mining service, Checkout Tracking.

With the exception of outdoor living, online sales of each major segment of the home improvement market grew in the 12 months ending March 2017, and almost every category tracked within those segments experienced double-​digit online dollar growth. The fastest growing categories last year were plumbing pipes and fittings, light bulbs, and ceiling fans, and the categories with the largest online sales gains were home décor, light fixtures and lamps, and area rugs.

This bodes well for lighting stores! The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 9.6% of American consumers plan to purchase interior lighting/​fans this year. These stores need to get on the e‑commerce bandwagon fast if they are not already!

The pace at which e‑commerce is gaining acceptance among home improvement consumers emphasizes the need to understand how consumers are utilizing online and in-​store shopping options, and how to make them work together,” said Joe Derochowski, executive director and home industry analyst at NPD. “Marketers can capture the replenishment of commodity products, like light bulbs and air filters, by offering online convenience, but there are also opportunities to benefit from consumer showrooming for bigger ticket items, like bathtubs and vanities, with the in-​store experience.”

During the past 30 days, 62.5% of Interior Lighting/​Fan Buyers have used the internet via browser, tablet, smartphone or other connected device to shop, according to the new AudienceSCAN survey data. Another 54% of lighting/​fan shoppers used a search engine to research a product they're considering for purchase.

NPD’s Checkout Tracking E‑commerce information illustrates that the online sales growth reaches across a variety of home improvement categories and consumer age groups. Millennials are a driving force behind this online growth, with the younger segment growing at the fastest pace, and the older portion accounting for the largest share of dollar gains. However, Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation are also very active in online home improvement spending, representing almost two-​thirds of industry sales for the year.

The new AudienceSCAN study found 37% of Interior Lighting/​Fan Buyers viewed a television commercial on YouTube in the past 6 months. Lighting stores can use video to reach e‑commerce shoppers and maybe even coax them into stores.

Without a doubt, e‑commerce will continue to gain importance for the home improvement industry,” says Derochowski. “The current demographic changes are driving increases in the number of people entering life stages that are important to home improvement categories, from first-​time home buyers to downsizing empty nesters, the industry is in a prime position to help consumers today and develop new shopping habits that will last for decades to come.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.