CLEVELAND, April 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As states order residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many homeowners are filling their idle time with DIY home improvement projects, such as remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, repainting and reflooring rooms, creating outdoor living spaces, and planting gardens.
Monthly sales data from the US Census Bureau reported that unadjusted retail sales at building material distributors and other related sales outlets posted a 25% increase from February to March of 2020 – despite the fact that many parts of the country were under shelter-in-place orders in the second half of March. Such sales were up 10% over comparable levels in March 2019.
Which products are benefiting most the rise in DIY activity?
Sales have increased most for products that are best suited to DIY projects, particularly paint and wallpaper, flooring (most notably easier to install types such as luxury vinyl tile, laminate flooring, and decorative tile), garden supplies and tools, and outdoor furniture and grills. Cabinets, plumbing fixtures, drywall, and lumber appeal to customers who have the skill and tools to tackle larger or more complicated projects.
Opportunities vary by pandemic policy
The spike in sales has led some states to close all or part of some stores, since visiting crowds were getting too big to allow sufficient social distancing and protection for the staff. For instance, Michigan's governor has tightened business restrictions so that large discount and home improvement stores are deemed essential and allowed to remain open during stay-at-home orders must close areas "dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint."
In order to help avoid heavier restrictions going forward, retailers are changing policies and practices to enable safe shopping, such as limiting the number of customers allowed in the store at a time and encouraging online ordering and curbside pickup.
Want to learn more?
The Freedonia Group's COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker continues to closely track the evolving economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means for the markets we cover in our studies, including Live Goods: Plants, Trees & Shrubbery; Cabinets; Countertops; Outdoor Furniture & Grills; Outdoor Kitchens; Global Flooring, Global Architectural Paint; and Global E-Commerce.
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