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Sudden drop in outsourcing home improvement jobs

The European Home Improvement Monitor Q4 2019 focuses on Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Do It For Me (DIFM). In other words, doing home improvement jobs yourself or outsourcing them. We expect a trend towards DIFM for two reasons: On one hand, the European population is ageing. At some point, the baby boom generation is no longer able to do DIY jobs themselves. This group is also the most DIY minded of the population. They were used to doing constructive jobs themselves and had the skills to complete them. On the other hand, the younger generation is less DIY minded. They dislike doing difficult jobs because they lack skills. So, the older generation is not able to do home improvement jobs as frequently anymore and the younger generation is less interested in doing them. Combining this, we anticipate an increase in Do It For Me.

Labour shortage causes drop in DIFM

Looking at the percentages of DIY and DIFM home improvement jobs in the European Home Improvement Monitor Q4 2019, we see a gradual increase in the share of DIFM since 2014. Then, from 2018 to 2019, we notice a sudden drop. The share of DIFM is no longer increasing. In fact, it decreased on a European level. For this, we have different explanations.

Firstly, there is a high labour shortage in some European countries. This means less labour and thus less professionals available to do jobs for consumers. Furthermore, labour costs have increased significantly. There is a high demand, but low supply, so costs will increase. This turns the trend towards DIY, because when outsourcing jobs is expensive, consumers tend to do the jobs themselves.

Another explanation for this drop is that DIY stores motivate younger generations to do home improvement jobs themselves. Also, this generation is more likely to rent houses instead of buying them. Furthermore, they are more mobile, meaning they will move to different houses more often. If you switch houses often, the likeliness that you will be doing more DIY jobs increases. This generation has less money to spend. In addition, they are faced with high labour shortage and high labour costs, so they will most likely do the jobs themselves. Other factors, like the amount of jobs done and the amount of money spent are more or less the same.

DIY most popular in France

Obviously, this is an average of European numbers. Zooming in on the differences per country, we see that the DIY market is most popular in France, where 75% of all jobs were DIY jobs. In contrast, DIY jobs are the least popular in Italy. There, approximately half (54%) of all jobs were DIY jobs.

DIFM will keep increasing

How will this continue to develop in the future? That depends on the development of labour shortages. Furthermore, it depends on whether DIY stores are able to make interesting offers by providing not only products, but also installation service. Nowadays, a trend towards DIY stores providing both products and services is already seen. For now, it is unclear what will happen in the future. The key demographic driver of the older generation becoming too old is still ongoing. In conclusion, we still anticipate an increase in DIFM and this drop was mainly caused by labour shortage. For more detailed information we refer you to the European Home Improvement Monitor Q4 2019.