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Orientation for home improvement products becoming increasingly more digital

Online purchasing is becoming more and more common in the overall consumers market. The amount of online purchase channels is growing, and virtually any product can be found and bought online these days. 10 years ago, for instance, I had no choice but to go to a supermarket to get my groceries, and carry them home myself. Nowadays, I can select and buy the same groceries online without ever having to leave my desk, and continue writing this article whilst awaiting their prompt delivery. An entire customer journey behind the very laptop this article is written on.

In the more conservative market of home improvement products, however, online purchasing is not as common yet, as a larger share of customers still prefer to buy home improvement products from physical DIY stores. Be that as it may, online purchasing is just one part of the customer journey, a journey that always starts with orientation, the most important phase for manufacturers and brands to catch the eye of the consumer. To shed light on consumers’ orientation behaviour, and especially online orientation in the home improvement market, USP Marketing Consultancy focused on orientation and new ways of searching in the Q1 2019 report of the European Home Improvement Monitor.

Our results show that, although the vast majority of home improvement product consumers still prefer to buy their products in DIY stores, indeed reflecting a more conservative market, online orientation is rising rapidly. Where five years ago, about one third of consumers used online sources of information on home improvement products they eventually bought, now 45% of the European consumers interviewed indicate to do so.

On country level, differences can be seen. In France and Belgium, for instance, the share of consumers indicating to look for home improvement product information online is still around one third. Poland is in the lead, as more than half of the consumers there report to use online sources to find out about home improvement products before purchasing. Regardless of differences in online orientation per country at the moment, all eleven European countries in the scope of the European Home Improvement Monitor show the same trend. In all countries, the amount of consumers that start their customer journey online is rising rapidly.

When focusing on specific characteristics of consumers, the level of income or the amount of DIY experience does not seem to affect online orientation behaviour of consumers. Age, however, is of major influence. As expected, younger consumers show to search for product information online a lot more than older generations. Lest we forget though, the younger consumer of today is the older consumer of tomorrow, meaning that over time the rising trend of online orientation will keep rising.

In line with this positive trend of online orientation, our research shows that the amount of consumers that already have a brand in mind when entering a physical shop is on the rise as well. That means that the rise of online orientation has major consequences for manufacturers and brands, even in the relatively conservative market of home improvement products. To catch the eye of the consumer during the start of their customer journey, manufacturers and brands will need to focus their marketing strategies more and more on online information channels.

To find out more about consumers’ online orientation behaviour and new ways of searching for home improvement products, we refer you to the Q1 2019 report of the European Home Improvement Monitor, which includes detailed information about consumers from eleven European countries.