Home Improvement: Category Overview

July 2015

Home improvement has come back from the last half-decade, which started with the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent recession. Growth has resumed in most developed markets, and pent-up demand in the US is boosting global sales. China’s property market has lost some of its shine but the environment remains positive thanks to supportive government policies. Yet new challenges arise as millennials replace boomers, and with them new spending patterns that will force marketers to adapt quickly.

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Home improvement is growing again

2014 was the year when global home improvement sales returned to pre-crisis levels on the back of sustained growth in China and an early stage of recovery in the US.

Consumers look for style and personalisation

After years of tightening their belts, consumers in recession-hit countries are catching up on delayed home improvement projects. The categories to benefit the most are wall and floor coverings and home paint, which give consumers great opportunities to upgrade their interior design styles.

Bridging products and services can unlock e-commerce boom

A significant proportion of home improvement shoppers require help to install and fit their products at home. So far bricks-and-mortar outlets have been their number one choice for service, but now pure players are establishing their own home service marketplaces.

China’s remain the most dynamic market despite slowdown

The years of double-digit growth may be over in China, yet the country continues to drive global sales of home improvement. It is even expected to outperform the US by market value by 2016.

Rise of the sharing economy                                          

Through a mixture of social media, thrift and need for empowerment, the sharing or collaborative economy is gaining traction globally. From fab labs to how-to digital content, consumers are feeling more confident about home improvement projects, which is prompting specialist retailers to offer new services in their stores.

Sustainability and safety of materials critical

Manufacturers in home paint and floor covering are putting forward new production methods to improve the carbon footprint of their products and alleviate consumers’ safety fears. Green credentials will thus become an essential aspect within the industry.


Key findings

Socioeconomic Drivers

Home improvement returns to pre-crisis levels
Mortgage performance improving
Housing market recovers in largest economies
Housing policies impact market performance in China and the UK
Currency fluctuations weigh on global performance
India joins top 10 following Italy and Australia’s losses
Rising power of cities
Millennials redefine the home

Category Analysis

Comfort, style and convenience drive demand
Global sales driven by US and China
Carpet slowly losing out to other categories
Hygiene and safety concerns
H ighly fragmented market characterised by product innovation
The top three marketing claims in floor covering
Euromonitor International Survey: Flooring in home
Electrification a key prerequisite for the development of power tools
Leisure time linked to power tools usage
Feminisation can unlock growth potential
Substitutes for power tools
New alternatives emerge in the power tools universe
Home paint has yet to conquer emerging markets

Regional Analysis

US (1): Home improvement benefits from pent-up demand
US (2): Big ticket items back on top of shopping lists
China’s soft landing: Should the world be worried?
China: Focus on decoration
Spain: Uncertain economy with early signs of recovery

Channel Analysis

Supplier-retailer partnerships in decorative paint in the US
Retail shake-up in Germany
Specialist retailers responding to the needs of mobile consumers
Big chains adapting to the challenges of the sharing economy
Internet: Addressing the untapped service market
Amazon bets on the “Don’t-Do-It-Yourself” trend


Asia Pacific will dominate future growth in home improvement
Home and garden growth trails other consumer goods industries…
…but outperforms historic period in all categories
Ageing baby boomers lean towards “Do-It-For-Me”
China tops absolute growth in most categories…
…and is expected to overtake the US in 2016
Key takeaways

Report Definitions

Data parameters
Product category definitions
Retail distribution definitions


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