Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Importance of online orientation in home improvement products increases

Published: 6 July 2018 - Fiona Garcia

The number of consumers that orient themselves online before purchasing a home improvement is steadily growing year over year, according to a recent report, meaning business should look at focusing their marketing efforts online in order to create greater brand awareness.

USP Marketing Consultancy managing consultant Reinier Zuydgeest explains that the online information that consumers come across has an effect on their decision-making later on in the process, so it is important for retailers to know to what degree and how consumers are using online sources to research and find a specific product.

The latest The European Home Improvement Monitor found that, in 39% of all home improvement purchases, the consumer has researched and started the process online. However, the customer journey depends very much on the type of product they are researching or looking to buy. When buying paint brushes, only 15% of the European consumers look for information online before their purchase. In contrast, more than half of the consumers looking to buy power tools will start the process on the web.

Whilst it would seem logical that that, once a consumer has started their orientation online, there is a greater chance that they will complete their purchase via the internet – and this is true in most categories - there are some exceptions.  An example is insulation materials, where almost half of consumers research online first, yet in most countries, the share for online buying of insulation materials is below 5%.

The European Home Improvement Monitor measures online orientation and decision making for over 100 home improvement products. In this monitor 26,400 European consumers have been interviewed each year since 2014. When the monitor started four years ago, the number of home improvement purchases that began with consumers looking online was 34%.


The younger generation, which generally has less experience and less knowledge when it comes to home improvement, have a greater need for information when they start a DIY project, says Mr Zuydgeest. This is reflected by the European Home Improvement Monitor’s findings that 42% of consumers in the 18-34-year-old bracket, research online before making a home improvement purchase. The fact that this age group consists of what Mr Zuydgeest calls “digital natives” makes the online channel the first source to start their customer journey.

Mr Zuydgeest commented on the findings: “The importance of online information on home improvement products is becoming bigger each year - especially amongst the younger generation. We expect that within two-to-three years, half of all home improvement purchases will have an online touchpoint during its customer journey. This orientation phase is influencing purchases decisions and brand preferences.”

He believes businesses need to focus their efforts online to build greater brand awareness: “In most categories, the increase in online orientation is driving the growth of online buying. Although there are some specific category exceptions in which online orientation is high but online buying is not.  Brand awareness in DIY is known to be lower among the younger generation. By focusing marketing efforts more and more online, suppliers can build up their brand strength among this target group.”


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