It’s ‘Tool Time’ in America

In the infamous words of Tim The Tool Man Taylor, “Let’s see what happens when we plug this sucker in.” Americans everywhere are amping up and ramping for the summer season for home improvements now that old man winter has decided to finally take repose across this great land.

In Ipsos Public Affairs’ recent survey, Taking Measure of Home Improvement in America, we assess the do-it-yourself marketplace, and gauge Americans’ willingness to make home repairs and improve the curb appeal of their front and back yards.

52% of Americans have taken care of a home improvement project in the past year, and households with children top out at 55%. Is it the light n’ fluffy stuff we Americans site as a home improvement, or is it an attempt to create the 8th Wonder of the Modern World? 30% will engage in an interior painting project, while 25% will tackle landscaping, and 13% will be brave enough to hop up on a ladder and handle exterior painting projects.

Impressive for some, entry level Bob the Builder work for others. Any way you look at it, there is a direct correlation between the quantity of Home Depot / Lowes / Walmart / Target / Local Hardware & Garden center flyers I am receiving, and the advent of spring in New England (spring lasts 18 hours and 32 minutes in my neck of the woods).

Although retailers are savvy enough to make the connection between the rebirth of spring and summer and home and yard improvements, they need to be smart about how they engage consumers. We asked, “Have any of the following reasons ever kept you from doing a home improvement project?” and the #1 reason cited was ‘lack of funds’ (47%), well ahead of ‘lack of time’ (22%). So understanding the effects of a lingering economy is important.

Equally as important is the impact of word of mouth. We asked, “What sources of information do you seek when deciding where to buy your supplies?” and word of mouth led the charts at 46%, closely followed by the Internet at 43%, and store employee suggestions at 26%.

So Tool Time, let’s plug this sucker in and see what happens…

  1. Spring has sprung, and retailers are in full swing for home improvement voyeurs.
  2. Money is tight, so even when do-it-yourself is the only answer, it needs to be done economically, and with some training wheels to win over buyers. Free delivery, installation, or onsite retail training, have been around since the dawn of the Free Masons, so get creative, and figure out a way to add value with your products during this budget crunched economy.
  3. Remember to locate ‘influencers’ and ‘advocates’ with your marketing database or customer loyalty programs. They are your cheapest resource for scaling the home improvement business in each and every neighborhood across this great land.