Lockdown has changed the way we feel about our homes. Research by B&Q shows that nine out of ten of us agree that the home is central to making life better, and a quarter of us are motivated to do more home improvement as a result.
We certainly decorate more frequently these days. On average, Brits decorate the living room every 25 months on average, the bedroom every 29 months and hallways every 45 months, according to Furniture123.co.uk.
Home improvement doesn’t always mean redecorating the whole room. Sometimes, new cushions, a throw and a pot plant will be enough. When you’re looking for home decor inspiration, then there’s plenty online. As well as Instagram and Pinterest, sites like www.thespruce.com and www.houzz.co.uk are packed with look books, mood boards and style advice. Home improvement specialists have always provided help and advice for their customers. DIY retail websites are packed with ‘how to’ videos, instructions and practical advice for experts and novices alike.
Real-time social proof messaging is a good fit with this friendly, professional vibe, helping shoppers see what’s popular (’45 of these sold today), what’s in stock (’27 of these in stock’), what other customers say (‘89% of buyers gave this 5* for comfort’). This objective contextual information and personal interaction help people buy with confidence.
The DIY and home improvement sector has benefited from the pandemic, and sales reflect the overall shift to online. Kingfisher reported a big jump in sales (including eCommerce growth of 150%) for the fourth quarter of 2020. In the 12 months to end of August 2020, IKEA’s online sales jumped by 45%. Dunelm reported sales growth of 23% across the 26 weeks to 26 December 2020, and its digital sales grew by 111%. Wayfair’s 2020 revenues were up 55.0%, with the number of active customers reaching 31.2 million by the end of the year, an increase of 53.7% over 2019.
We’re looking at our homes with fresh eyes. One top trend is for more flexible spaces that can better accommodate working from home, exercise, home schooling, crafting, entertainment, socialising (online of course) and entertainment, as well as enabling us to carry on with all the usual domestic
chores pleasures. Open plan may have had its day. Etsy reports a 134% increase in searches for room dividers. We’d like a bit more privacy please.
Working from home has its own joys. According to Rated People, 29% of Brits #WFH had to clear toys off their ‘desk’ each day and 22% often worked sitting on the floor. Enter the ‘cloffice’. Converting a closet (or, in the average British home, maybe the cupboard under the stairs) into an office is one way to carve out a separate workspace in what is a pretty crowded living environment right now. Check it out on Instagram.
Of course, if you do go for the cloffice, then what on earth are you going to do with the stuff that was stored under the stairs or on top of the wardrobe? British homes are not known for generous storage and some of us may have bought the odd extra item online recently. Homebase says the average British home contains nearly 50 sq.ft of clutter. Nationally, that would cover 17,000 football pitches. It’s not good news. A fifth of Brits feel more stressed as clutter builds up. No wonder searches for storage products are up.
There’s also a trend for more eco-friendly homes. Whether its light bulbs or houseplants, three quarters of Brits are keen to make their home greener. In partnership with Smart Energy GB, Homebase’s ‘Green Aisle’ showcases energy efficient and eco-friendly home improvement products.
Online shopping for the home is here to stay. MADE.COM says over two thirds of Brits are now buying homeware online every month. It’s important for retailers that those customers make the right choices for their homes and families. Social proof is a powerful and low risk way to support them on their shopping journey.