The 20+ year decline in DIY activity appears to have ended. Today, DIY projects per household are 46% lower than they were in the 1990s, leaving significant room for growth. We believe a rebound is underway in DIY.
COVID-19 dramatically shifted the remodeling business, as young adults couped up in their home without professional help turned to YouTube and completed their first DIY projects. Going forward, many of these newly-minted DIYers will continue to save money, DIYing the easier portions of remodeling projects that they previously would have outsourced 100% to professional installers. Already, half of homeowners combine DIY projects with professional remodels.
What it means for our industry:
- Plan for labor efficiency to improve, benefitting both home builders and single-family rental landlords. Builders will find it easier to secure some of the remodeling labor, including highly experienced crews. This will help contain costs per unit and reduce the time to build a home. The construction labor market will still remain tight, however.
- Plan for more DIY building products demand. BP companies targeting small projects (like DIY painting) will benefit from big project spending that previously would have gone to contractors, who often choose different products. More DIY activity will also free up dollars to spend on higher quality materials or an expansion of scope. The smartest BP companies will continue to spend money to remove the DIY barriers to entry (focusing on ease of installation and DIY education).
- Spend your ad dollars on teaching. Digital content is easily accessible and increasingly made by and geared towards women with a strong design angle, as evidenced by the increasing importance of platforms like Instagram. This skill reinforcement is an important dynamic that will perpetuate DIY activity.
To reiterate: DIY is not just a COVID play. Instead, the accumulation of DIY skills over the pandemic and combination DIY/PRO remodels are tailwinds for longer-term DIY growth.