Research shows what consumer spending in lockdown means for the home interiors industry and marketing

Research: How lockdown has impacted the home interiors industry

As a specialist home interiors PR agency, we wanted to find out how consumers are researching and buying products for their home, what home improvement plans they've got for the year ahead, and what they look for when it comes to choosing businesses to buy from. 

Whether we're working with architects, kbb studios, manufacturers, suppliers, tradespeople, retailers or other businesses in the home interiors sector, these insights and trends are invaluable to help shape marketing and PR strategies. Here is an overview of some of the results.

Research: Promising year ahead for home interiors businesses, but consumers more selective about where they buy

New research has revealed millions of consumers are spending more money than usual on their homes as a result of lockdown, with 75 per cent of Brits planning further improvements over the next year.

The data provides reassurance that despite the coronavirus, there are still lucrative opportunities for businesses such as home interiors retailers, kbb studios, architects, tradespeople, manufacturers and other businesses in the home interiors industry.

However, the research also discovered that even though the UK is easing its way out of lockdown, almost half of people who want to view items for their home in person are concerned about going to the shops. Instead, they’re more likely to turn to social media for interiors inspiration before choosing which businesses to buy from, with YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest among the preferred channels, but with home interiors magazines and brand websites proving popular too.

Research shows consumers more likely to turn to social media for information and inspiration for their homes

Consumers spending more on their homes because of lockdown

The research, which questioned over 2,000 consumers and was commissioned by home interiors PR agency Unhooked Communications, found 72 per cent of people have bought new interiors products for their home over the last two months. The most popular items include wallpaper or paint (22 per cent), kitchen utensils or cooking items (21 per cent), and tools (16 per cent).

Over two-fifths (42 per cent) said they’re investing more in their home in 2020 because they have spent less money day-to-day due to lockdown. More than a third (36 per cent) said because they aren’t going on holiday this year, so are instead splashing more cash on home improvements.

For the three-quarters of consumers planning home improvements over the next 12 months, two fifths (39 per cent) want to redecorate at least one room, a quarter want to landscape the garden, 14 per cent want a new bathroom, and more than one in ten (11 per cent) want a new kitchen. With more people working remotely, a further one in ten said they want to create a home office.

Research shows consumers want to create a home office to work from home

How do consumers choose which home interiors businesses to buy from? 

While 45 per cent have concerns about going to the shops to make their home improvement plans a reality, there are other considerations shoppers face when it comes to choosing which home interiors retailers to buy from. 

Compared to 12 months ago, over half (54 per cent) said they’re more likely to want to support local businesses and 44 per cent said they’re more concerned about the cost of products and services for their home. However, two thirds stated they’re happy to pay more for items if they are good quality and last longer than cheaper items. On top of that, nearly half (46 per cent) said it’s important to buy from sustainable businesses that reduce their impact on the environment.

When it comes to choosing local home interiors retailers, suppliers and businesses, over half (55 per cent) rely on recommendations or reputation; a half (50 per cent) make their decision based on cost, and 40 per cent want to see proof of previous work and case studies. Over a third (34 per cent) want to be assured the home interiors business will deliver the products or the work within a certain timeframe, just over a fifth (22 per cent) want to work with businesses that offer a broad range of services or products, and 19 per cent take into consideration any added value services or extra support the businesses are able to offer.

Research shows consumers want to buy from local businesses that are sustainable and offer a wide range of products and services

What does the research mean for home interiors marketing? 

Claire Gamble, MD of Unhooked Communications, which carried out the research, said: “We know from speaking to our clients and contacts in the home interiors industry that many have seen a rise in sales over the last couple of months as people are spending more time at home and are looking to improve their spaces. With our research showing that many consumers are planning further home improvements over the coming months, these are promising signs for retailers.

“But understandably, some people have concerns about visiting shops and showrooms, so it’s no surprise 42 per cent of those questioned said they prefer to search online for inspiration and information more now than they may have 12 months ago. While we know retailers and other specialist home interiors businesses are doing what they can to make shoppers feel safe in store, the sudden changes to our day-to-day lives and ways of working have emphasised the importance of using digital means to engage with customers. 

“When it comes to products for the home, consumers often want to see them in person. But with social distancing and limited numbers in stores, home interiors retailers should look at how they can inspire and inform their customers from afar. 

“Our research shows YouTube, home and interiors brands’ own websites, social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and home interior magazines are among the preferred channels for consumers when researching trends and products, and these provide a great first platform for businesses to engage with audiences before welcoming them into their shops. As well as using these channels to showcase products and services, it’s also important for businesses to consider the messaging and stories they convey too as we know consumers are looking for sustainable, local businesses that can deliver quality and reliable products and services.”

Consumer spending on home improvements research: The results in detail

In the last two months, what have you bought for your home?

72 per cent of the consumers we spoke to had bought items for their home since lockdown started. These items included: 

Wallpaper or paint for decorating

(22%)

Bedroom furnishings or furniture              

(22%)

Living room furnishings or furniture                

(22%)

Kitchen utensils or cooking items

(21%)

Tools for the home

(16%)

Hot tub, outdoor bar, summer house

(13%)

Outdoor seating and furniture                    

(13%)

TV

(13%)

BBQ, pizza oven, outdoor cooking                  

(10%)

Outdoor toys for children

(11%)

Home gym equipment

(9%)

Study or office furniture

(8%)

Free or second hand materials / furniture to upcycle

(8%)

Games console

(7%)

In the last two months, where have you gone for information and inspiration for products and  improvement works for your home?

Our research showed 60 per cent of consumers have looked at a number of different channels and resources for information and inspiration for products and improvement works. For home interiors PR strategies, these channels should be considered as ways for brands to engage with their target audiences.

YouTube (22%)

Brands' own websites (18%)

Facebook (17%)

Magazines, print & online (16%)

Instagram (16%)

Pinterest (14%)

Specialist retailers (12%)

Bloggers & influencers (9%)

What home improvements are you planning over the next 12 months?

Three-quarters of consumers are planning on home improvements over the next year. These home improvements include:

Redecorating at least one room

(39%)

Landscaping the garden

(23%)

New bathroom

(14%)

New kitchen

(11%)

Home office / space to work                          

(11%)

Put house on the market and move                          

(10%)

Home gym / area to exercise                              

(9%)

Get an extension

(7%)

Playroom for children

(5%)

Convert a cellar, attic or loft

(5%)

How do you feel about the shopping experience and what influences what you buy and who you buy from?

45% of consumers want to see items for their home in person but are currently worried about going to the shops.

41% of consumers are researching products and home improvement services online more than they were 12 months ago.

44% of consumers are more concerned about the price of products and services for their home than they were 12 months ago.

62% of consumers are happy to pay more for home interiors products if they are quality and last longer than cheaper items.

54% of consumers are more likely to want to support and buy from local suppliers and retailers than they were 12 months ago.

45% of consumers said it's important to buy products from sustainable businesses that reduce their impact on the planet.

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