Home improvement projects are the new form of self-care, a trend Lowe's believes will continue to fuel sales in 2021
- Lowe's remains optimistic about home improvement sales as 2021 gets underway.
- The home-improvement giant recently surveyed its customers and found that nearly half have been spending money on home improvement projects that would've been spent elsewhere in past years.
- Lowe's Executive Vice President of Merchandising Bill Boltz said do-it-yourself projects help shoppers "reclaim feelings of normalcy and establish a sense of calm."
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
In a bid to feel normal in a time that is anything but, consumers continue to plunk down cash on home improvement projects. And Lowe's doesn't see that trend changing anytime soon.
Lowe's saw sales soar in 2020, as consumers sought to spruce up their living spaces during the coronavirus pandemic. A recent survey from the company, featuring insights from 2,005 shoppers across the US, found that 46% of respondents spent money on home improvement that would've been spent elsewhere during a normal year. For its part, Lowe's expanded its e-commerce functionality and rolled out curbside and pick-up options to accommodate the demand.
Insider spoke with Lowe's Executive Vice President of Merchandising Bill Boltz, who said that consumers are increasingly relying on home improvement as a method of "self care."
"As we look ahead, self-care and healthy habits will likely serve as new motivators for continued home improvement, even in a post-pandemic world," he said.
Boltz added that shoppers have embraced the "do-it-for-yourself" ethos in order to "reclaim feelings of normalcy and establish a sense of calm." A total of 64% of respondents in Lowe's' survey said that their homes meant more to them today than they did a year ago.
He said that products related to "upgrading spaces to make life easier and more enjoyable, for practical, aesthetic and even emotional benefit" have seen a major surge. Lowe's found that four in 10 respondents have transformed an extra room into a workspace this year, while one third of participants carved out a "private retreat" or a home gym in their residence.
"In the third quarter of 2020, we saw growth in all merchandising categories and above-average growth in decor, lawn and garden, and seasonal and outdoor living," Boltz told Insider. Within decor, our growth was driven largely by the strength in furniture, including accent furniture and accessories, along with the strong results in home organization, as customers continue to update and create new spaces."
Other categories that saw a boost included seasonal and outdoor living products, with consumers buying fire pits and patio heaters to enhance their ability to socialize outdoors. All in all, 51% of survey respondents said "having additional outdoor space became more important to them in 2020." Sales for accent furniture, accessories, and home organizational tools also flourished, highlighting consumers' desire to further shape their spaces during the pandemic. Lowe's did not provide specific sales figures for any of these aforementioned categories.
Just as the Tractor Supply Company has seen an uptick in customers embracing homesteading, Boltz also said that Lowe's has seen "notable growth within live nursery and landscape products, as customers actively engaged in outdoor landscaping and other fall exterior projects."
The pandemic additionally succeeded in upending the conventional wisdom that wintertime represents a slowdown for home improvement spending. This year, Lowe's consumers began purchasing decorations earlier than ever, especially products like string-lights, fresh-cut trees, wreaths, and greenery. The company's new fresh tree delivery offering was also well received during the holiday season, as the service sold out rapidly in many markets.
"We anticipated that consumers would continue to invest in making their home spaces more functional and more comfortable to ultimately better serve their new needs," he told Insider, adding that Lowe's' merchandising strategies paid off this winter.
As for keeping the momentum going in 2021, Boltz said that the company is relying on "curbside pickup, an expanded online assortment, and more in-store safety features" in order to adjust to emerging customer needs.
"Our merchandising philosophy is to be the customer's advocate for value, and we will continue to deliver new innovation and differentiated offerings to be their total home solution," he said.
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