Key Insights and Trends
Building material manufacturers stand to hugely benefit by truly understanding the motivating factors and purchasing habits of DIY consumers. This information is a must-have when it comes to building an informed marketing strategy for your company.
In our first follow-up survey since 2015, my team at Venveo has surveyed DIYers from across the country to find out how they’re shopping for building materials, what influences their purchasing decisions, and what kind of support they’re looking for from their chosen brands.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is in DIYers’ increased refusal to hire a contractor; you’ll see that the numbers are significantly higher in 2018.
To help inform their projects and gain inspiration, DIYers have turned to a new content source online. Pinterest is now the number one place DIYers go for inspiration for projects, having surpassed Google, YouTube, and every other social media platform (including Instagram).
This is a major jump from 2015. When hiring a contractor for a project, however, the biggest source of inspiration has become the home of someone they know.
Another major discovery in this year’s survey is the massive shift in DIYers utilizing smartphones for projects. This may not sound like a big surprise, but it’s essential for manufacturers to grasp just how universal mobile is.
Making a mobile-friendly online presence is no longer optional.
DIYers use their smartphones at every step during the life of their project, including gathering inspiration, researching purchasing decisions, and accessing tutorials.
Profiling the DIY Consumer
We surveyed more than 850 DIYers within the US, more than 70% of whom live in a house and own their property.
Their age ranges from 18 to 70, with nearly 58% of respondents married, and half of them with children currently living at home.
43% of respondents earn between $50,000 and $100,000 each year. Another 27% earns between $25,000 and $49,000.
People are DIYing home projects across the board, and it doesn’t matter how much they earn.
27% of respondents reported earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, while another 27% earns between $50,000 and $75,000. Nearly 20% of respondents earn over $100,000.
Facebook is Still Huge
Facebook is obviously the most widely adopted social platform for general use, but not for DIYers looking for home improvement content—they go to Pinterest and YouTube first.
Where DIYers Find Inspiration
YouTube and Pinterest are the top social media resources for DIYers looking for inspiration or project help. The focus on visuals and in-depth information available on these platforms make them perfectly designed to engage the DIYer. Despite this popularity, however, YouTube and Pinterest are often overlooked by building materials marketers.
Why They DIY
The top three reasons for DIY projects include making a living space more enjoyable, general updates due to wear and tear, and updating the look of a space.
Only 8% of DIY projects are taken on to fix something that’s broken. Over 77% of DIY projects are “elective.” Meaning, DIYers are taking on projects to get more out of their home and make their living space more enjoyable. As a building materials manufacturer, you should focus on the overall impact your products have on a space, not just the bottom-dollar value. You need to appeal to the DIYer’s desire to create a home that is uniquely theirs.
Short Selling Cycles
DIYers aren’t planning their projects very far in advance; in fact, over 77% of respondents start within six months.
That means the content you share to attract and convert DIYers needs to be timely. You only need to post about one season ahead. This information can also help you identify hot leads. If you notice the same lead visiting the same content or product pages on your site within a couple weeks or months, they should be put into the appropriate nurture campaign because they will be buying within weeks!
Top DIY Projects for 2018
DIYers are tackling similar projects to those they worked on in 2015, choosing up to three renovations they plan on implementing this year.
The 2018 projects represent spaces that DIYers find the most valuable as well as projects they think they’ll be able to complete successfully. Creating how-to content for these top projects is a great way to get DIYers interested in your brand.
42% of DIYers plan to spend between $2,500 and $10,000 on home improvements in 2018.
DIYers aren’t afraid to spend when it comes to doing their own home improvements. Over 23% anticipate their 2018 budgets falling between $2,500 and $5,000, while over 18% has earmarked $5,000 to $10,000. Another 18% of respondents anticipated an annual budget between $1,000 and $2,500.
Income is the main indicator of how much a DIYer will spend on their project—more than project type or time lived in their residence. If you sell high-end products, make sure you’re targeting the right demographic, and don’t leave out DIYers just on the assumption they’re cheap.
Another important finding is that over 67% of DIYers make and stick to their home renovation budget. So financial planning tools like cost calculators can serve as a useful resource for this demographic.
DIYing versus Hiring a Pro
DIY: A Growing Movement
DIYers prefer not to hire contractors.
In 2015, 44% of DIYers said they would do all of their DIY projects themselves without the need to hire a contractor. In 2018, that number jumped to 61%. That's a 41% increase in just a few years.
The continuing DIY trend is due at least in part to the availability of information. There are tons of online tools and tutorials to help DIYers complete the projects they want without needing a professional. That means there’s a huge need for building materials manufacturers to create content that specifically speaks to DIYers.
Hiring a Contractor
Fewer people plan on hiring a professional for their DIY projects in 2018, and many don’t plan on hiring a contractor at all.
Although the projects that will include professionals are similar to the ones DIYers will take on themselves, it’s safe to assume these projects will be larger in scale and possibly include more technical skills like electrical or plumbing.
Building material manufacturers can capitalize on this trend by providing content that shows DIYers how they can do a lot of the heavy lifting themselves on a large project, then where it’s smart to bring in a professional for technical parts.
Why DIYers Hire Contractors
Respondents primarily turn to contractors only when a project is outside their personal skill set.
DIYers are turning to pros when the projects they need are too complex or require specific skills. But if they can tackle it on their own, they will.
When targeting DIYers, make sure you’re offering plenty of how-to articles and videos. They’re more likely to pick a product that emphasizes ease over time, since most would rather put in the effort themselves rather than hire a pro for a task that seems like too much for an amateur.
Inspiration and Research
How DIYers Find Project Information
DIYers research both projects and brands online.
About 78% of DIYers start their research online, and 88% of DIYers research about a product online before visiting a store to buy.
And 63% of DIYers research both product types and brands at the same time.
That means even if your products aren’t sold online, an engaging, well-rounded online presence is the only way you’re going to reach the DIYer. Even if your product isn’t sold in big box retailers, you can get noticed by DIYers online by focusing on your search rankings.
Pinterest is the number one place DIYers go for inspiration for projects they plan to tackle themselves
It ranks higher than Google, YouTube or any other social platform, and way more than Instagram. Pinterest is where social and search meet. It’s the perfect platform for DIYers to search for specific projects or just browse general DIY ideas. Building material manufacturers need to be active and engaging on Pinterest. Period.
When it comes to projects where DIYers plan to hire a contractor, Family & Friends jump to the number one spot for inspiration. Possibly they see something in a friend’s house that they like and want to replicate the look in their own home.
The Time to Inspire
Inspiration is important year-round.
DIYers are looking at project ideas whether or not they plan to tackle that project anytime soon. Nearly 76% of respondents report looking for inspiration all year round.
Research to Get the Job Done
YouTube jumped from the 4th most used in 2015 to the number one reference tool for DIYers who know what project they want to complete.
This growing trend underscores the importance of how-to videos and other YouTube tutorials.
The findings also indicate that DIYers heavily depend on Google. Google is their number two resource whether they’re looking for general inspiration or have their mind made up on what project they want to complete and are looking into specifics. That means you have multiple chances in their buyer journey to show up in relevant search rankings.
Social Media Bonus Tip: Both Pinterest and YouTube can populate as top search results in Google when people look for DIY projects, so if you properly tag your social content, you can show up not only on the social platform, but in Google as well.
Research on Devices
The majority of research, even specific how-to steps, is being done on smartphones.
If your website is hard to navigate on a phone or isn’t mobile-responsive, you are losing sales.
Importance of How-To Videos
90% of DIYers watch online how-to videos to help with their DIY Projects.
Providing helpful tutorial and how-to videos is a must for all brands targeting DIYers. Make sure the content is clear, engaging and easily viewed on all devices.
Social Media Bonus Tip: These videos make for great social content. Don’t wait for DIYers to find you online. Target them through social ads and use your helpful videos to get their attention while growing your brand awareness.
In-Store Mobile Research
Over 79% of DIYers have looked up additional information about products—other than price—while in a store.
In addition to providing easy access to product information details, make sure your online brand image is positive. Having well ranking reviews and product comparisons help DIYers feel confident in your product and could potentially make or break a sale within seconds.
What DIYers Want from a Manufacturer’s Website
Information Your Website Needs
Pricing information and customer reviews are practically neck and neck when it comes to what DIYers are looking for on product websites.
DIYers want to know what it’s like to use your product and what others think about it.
Don’t let their desire for price scare you. They’re not looking just for bargains: they want quality over price, and seeing where your product lands on the pricing scale compared to similar competing products is a step in their evaluation.
They typically want to buy middle priced products to feel like they’re getting the most for their investment. Plus, we know DIYers like to stick to their budgets, so knowing pricing information upfront can help them create an accurate plan.
When it comes to online reviews, they don't just want them to help them in their online research, but it’s the number one piece of information that helps them decide on what product to purchase.
“Lack of information” is the top complaint DIYers have about manufacturers’ websites.
Other notable issues include confusing site navigation, difficulty finding what you’re looking for, lack of pricing information, and no reviews listed on the site.
DIYers are accustomed to shopping and researching online, which means they won’t waste their time on overly complex websites. If your site isn’t setup to help customers get the info they need (and fast), they’re going to leave and go elsewhere.
DIYers and Brands
Brand Loyalty isn’t a Given
Less than 1% of DIYers research projects and products based on brands alone.
The bottom line is that DIYers are not brand-loyal. They’re looking for the best product for their project or the product that tells their story the best.
However, almost 30% of DIYers listed having a familiar name brand as a key influencer to purchase. So while they may not only look into your brand, if you are continually and effectively targeting them with valuable information and helping them reach their DIY project goals, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you when the time comes.
Social Media Interaction
DIYers are more accustomed to interacting with brands now than they were three years ago.
While they may not be the first to initiate an interaction, 32% of DIYers said they’re likely to interact with brands online. That’s a 27% increase from 2015.
Social Media Influence
47% of DIYers have started a project or purchased a product they first saw a brand or blogger post about on social media.
Your social presence isn’t just about telling your audience about your available products. It should showcase the possibilities of what DIYers can achieve with your product in the projects they want to tackle. Partnering with DIYer influencers is a great way to expand your reach and show DIYers that your brand gets what they’re looking for.
Quality is Key
71% of DIYers prefer higher quality products over a lower price point.
Saving money on projects by DIYing has nothing to do with being cheap and everything to do with getting the look they want. Positioning your product and brand as high-quality and high-value is the best way to get the DIYers attention and win their business. DIYers want to feel like they get a good bang for their buck.
What Defines Quality
Durability is key to DIYers when it comes to assessing quality.
They expect products to last and perform as expected. Convincing DIYers to buy a cheaper, less reliable product will hurt your brand and future purchase persuasion. You can also use these perceptions of quality in positioning your product as the best choice.
Sustainability is in Demand
Over 65% of respondents said they’re willing to pay more for a sustainably sourced product.
Sustainable is the new green. Millennials in particular love a brand with a story and being able to share that story when complimented on or asked about their project.
If your brand has a special spin on your commitment to the environment, make sure it’s shared! But be aware that generic “Green” labels, terms and promises will be scrutinized by DIYers. The more specific you can be, the better.
Recycled Materials Becoming Normalized
Just 55% of DIYers are willing to pay more for products made from recycled materials.
Products that use recycled material in part or whole are more and more common in the market place, which is great. But due to their prevalence and the current focus on decreasing environmental impact, DIYers are more likely to expect recycled materials to be similarly priced to products that do not include recycled materials.
Energy Efficiency is Important
Nearly 92% of respondents said they’re willing to pay more for products that will help them save money on utilities.
If your product can save money and resources for DIYers down the line, make the message clear. Emphasize both the reduced impact on the environment as well as reduced monthly bills to create the strongest argument for choosing your brand.
Smartphone Syncing on the Rise
Over 54% of DIYers are willing to pay more for a product that can sync with their smartphone and provide updates or alerts.
This is a 25% jump compared to 2015. Although it’s still not a large majority, if your product is similarly matched to your competition, allowing consumers to control your product and get alerts from their phone could be the tipping point to chose you over the competition.
Value Over Toxicity
A whopping 82% of DIYers would rather pay more for a product that are less toxic.
Obviously, toxicity is top-of-mind for today’s DIY Consumer. Clearly state how your product is void of well-known toxins like BPA, Formaldehyde, and others to help consumers feel more confident buying your product.