Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

How lockdown changed British attitudes towards our homes for good

Published: 14 September 2020 - Sarah Mead

Many of us remember the DIY fever that gripped the nation during the UK’s lockdown – but new research released by B&Q has revealed the extent to which the last six months have fundamentally changed British attitudes towards our homes – especially among the younger generation.


The research, commissioned by the leading UK home improvement and garden living retailer, polled 2,000 consumers to uncover how the Covid-19 lockdown has fundamentally changed Brits’ relationship with their homes.

An almost universal consensus (nine out of ten) said that their home is important to make their life better, and 57 percent feel it is even more significant post-lockdown.

Exploring why homes felt more significant than ever, the survey also found that 89 percent say their homes are a ‘sanctuary’ where they can be ourselves and 87 percent value the sense of security they provide. Despite this, only one in ten (11 percent) currently live in their ideal home, whereas half of the population (47 percent) want to make changes to their living set up.

The research also showed that the increased time spent at home meant over half (53 percent) of Brits realised more DIY needed doing.

And it seems the benefits go far beyond the functional bricks and mortar. During what was a difficult time for many, over half (51 percent) also said they found home improvement projects to be therapeutic.

Over two-fifths (42 percent) say they are more motivated to do DIY as a result of lockdown, and 35 percent feel more ambitious in the home improvement projects they want to tackle.

This change in attitude is particularly prevalent among youngsters, with two-fifths (42 percent) of 18-24 year olds having learned DIY skills during lockdown, while only a quarter (24 per cent) of those aged between 45-54 said the same. The younger generation also now feel more ambitious to make changes and tackle further DIY (42 percent of 18-24 year olds and 45 percent of 25-34 year olds agreed).

Gardening and decorating projects are by far the most coveted projects to improve people’s lives and enjoyment of their home. Nearly half (48 percent) said they had a gardening project planned and 43 percent want to get underway with decorating tasks. Signs of the lasting impact of lockdown on our home habits is also clear, with more than a third (35 percent) planning to improve their working from home spaces.

Chris Graham, Marketing Director, B&Q commented: “From terraces in Telford to flats in Farnborough, there are millions of different places to live in the UK. None are the same and neither are the people that live in them. However, what this research shows is that over 90% of us are united in the belief that the home is central to making life better.

“At B&Q, we’ve been helping people improve their homes for over 50 years, but the stories we’ve heard from customers in the last six months, alongside this new research, really shows that everyone has the potential to change their life through improving their home. It’s precisely this insight that makes us so proud and privileged to be a business where we can help people shape the homes that mean so much to them.”

The research also examined other ways, outside of the home, in which Brits seek to make their lives better.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many have found life improving enjoyment in embracing the great outdoors (32 percent), mastering hobbies (29 percent) and discovering new recipes to cook (27 percent). Top of the list for the next twelve months is spending time with family and friends, with over half saying it would improve their life and third (28 percent) saying it’s something they’ll be prioritising in the next year.

*Research conducted by YouGov in August 2020 – 2000 respondents


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What do you think?

With a mixed bag of reports on consumer confidence due to Covid-19 and figures at odds with actual sales, what are you seeing in terms of customer sentiment?

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