In the early stages of the pandemic, home improvement and DIY stores faced something of a dilemma. For perhaps the first time, people across the country were stuck at home — with plenty of hours in the day to complete those long-awaited projects. But even though ecommerce had been growing steadily over the years, purchases such as lumber and building materials were still very much an in-store thing.
As the stores remained closed due to restrictions, and the potential customer base continued to grow, businesses turned to ecommerce as an alternative. And it’s a success story that’s continued to blossom ever since.
As the pandemic progressed, shoppers became more and more comfortable making purchases online — even in sectors where they traditionally would have opted for an in-store experience. And in response, the home improvements industry invested in the technological infrastructure required to meet this shift in consumer habits. Now, online shoppers are considered top priority — and it’s an approach that’s paid off in spades. As of October 2022, the industry is still in a period of growth, with sales volume and revenue all continuing along a positive trajectory despite the challenges of the pandemic years.
But will things continue in this vein? According to experts, there’s a tough winter ahead, and it’s likely to impact the home improvement and DIY industry in all manner of ways. As inflation soars and the cost of living crisis continues without abating, consumers are likely to have far less money to spend on non-essentials. And on top of that, supply chain issues have caused the cost of goods and materials to rise, leaving retailers to make some difficult decisions. In fact, this last factor ranked as the top concern for lumber and building material (LBM) dealers in a 2022 survey conducted by ECI Software Solutions — directly above a potential recession and the ongoing pandemic.
Fortunately, though, investments made during the pandemic years are set to pay off as we approach an uncertain 2023. And those in the home improvement industry aren’t panicking just yet. After all, they’ve already shown that they can be resilient in the face of a changing market, and consumers have proved that they will adapt to a new commerce climate. In other words, the switch to ecommerce could help the industry survive far more than a pandemic — it could be the key to thriving even in the midst of a financial crisis.