How the Customer of the Future Will Affect the Home Improvement Industry

Rosemary Hayn

Rosemary Hayn

I recently attended the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Conference in Chicago, Illinois.  HIRI is a membership based, independent, not-for-profit organization of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry.  Its mission is to be recognized as the primary authority for effective, useful information about home improvement products and services in North America.

One of the sessions shared results of a study on consumer trends conducted with HIRI and The Futures Company a leading consumer research company.  The purpose of this study was to provide building professionals with consumer lifestyle wants and needs for the home.  The survey group included 26 – 41-year-olds. The results provide food for thought for manufacturers, retailers and building professionals in selling to the changing consumer:

There were five key trends that emerged from the survey:

  • More savvy, intelligent consumers, want products customized; want best deals; seek reviews and recommendations; focus on real, tangible benefits; want luxury at accessible prices. This is considered Consumers in Control.
  • Return to simple, less ostentatious living; products that withstand the test of time; making old classics with modern production standards; value transparency as mark of trust; interested in people behind the products. This illustrated The Genuine Article.
  • Focused on waste reduction; recognize challenge of a resource-constrained world; better solutions without compromise on performance or price; making positive contribution to community. This translated to Making a Difference.
  • Rediscovering life’s simple pleasures; desire intensified sensory experiences; solutions that save time and make life easier; maximizing performance of body, mind and spirit to attain goals. Referred to as Life, Well Lived.
  • Turning to trusted networks; coming together to share knowledge; connecting with local communities; value traditional forms of connection; mix of new influences on identity and tastes. Examples of Cultivating Connections.

Consumers clearly desire to have conveniences in the home to make living easy but are very focused on reducing waste and having more efficiency in their building envelope and appliances.

As I reviewed the statistics associated with the preferences, I discovered some interesting trends: 

  • Consumers say an important reason for them to do home improvement is to make their home better fit their lifestyle. (83%)
  • Say that price is more important than brand name. (76%)
  • Are doing more comparison shopping before buying – this includes those whose household income is $100,000+. (62%)
  • Wish they knew more about the home improvement products they purchased and how to maintain them. (73%)
  • Say their happiness doesn’t depend on how many possessions they have. (78%) 
  • Have learned, through the recession, to improve their home without spending a lot of money. (65%) 
  • Agree that you can depend on brands that have been around for a while. (87%) 
  • Feel it is important to know what is in a product in order to make a buying decision. (69%)
  • 52% have installed energy efficient appliances and 16% plan to.

This is just scratching the surface of the information in this study.  This information is very valuable in determining what products as well as product features and benefits the consumer of the future will expect and prefer. 

Are you starting to see these trends among clients or potential clients?

Rosemary Hayn is Manager, Market Research and Planning for CertainTeed Corporation


  1. What a great article! I think it’s interesting that consumers want “luxury at accessible prices” but are also conscious of the environment and waste. Unfortunately, accessible prices usually mean a product with a shorter life cycle and hence in the long run, more waste. I too am one of those people always looking high and low for the best deal for the highest quality product as well as trying to be waste conscious. It’s a tough balancing act IMHO.

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