Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Housing slump prompts rise in visits to online DIY stores

Published: 12 September 2008
Hitwise analysis shows DIY and furniture retailers overtaking estate agents as property downturn hits home.
UK internet visits to house and garden retail websites increased by 20.5% over the last 12 months, online research company Hitwise revealed yesterday.

Hitwise, which monitors data comparatively on numerous business websites, said that house and garden retail websites benefited at the expense of estate agents as the frequency of visits to their sites fell by 35.2%.

Drilling down Hitwise found that visits to estate agents fell from 0.85% in August 2007 to 0.55% last month. This, it said, was mirrored by consumer search behaviour with UK internet searches for 'houses for sale' down 53.1% between August 2007 and August 2008.

In contrast, UK internet visits to the 'House and Garden' category rose from 0.49% in August 2007 to 0.59% last month.

"It looks as if people are choosing to do up their existing houses rather than move," Robin Goad, research director, Hitwise UK said of the findings.

He added: "The interesting thing about the growth in House and Garden retailers is that it applies both to DIY retailers, such as B&Q, Screwfix and Homebase, and furniture retailers such as Ikea, Laura Ashley and Wilkinson Plus".

He explained the rise in visit activity was primarily because of an increase in online DIY queries as people look to improve their accommodation on a budget.

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