Western European home improvement sales saw a clear spike in 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the measures taken to control its spread, contributed positively to sales in many countries in the region, given consumers were spending more time at home than usual, with many also having more time on their hands. Over the forecast period, home improvement will then return to recording similar performances to the generally stagnating annual growth rates seen in the run-up to 2020.
The young adult population entering the home improvement environment today often lacks the necessary DIY skills to carry out major projects and is more likely to choose to outsource. The previous generation would have been taught these skills, but are now becoming part of a growing elderly demographic, thus less likely to carry out major projects. The shift in consumer behaviour is forcing manufacturers and retailers to evaluate new strategies to attract consumers.
The pandemic meant that consumers were locked down at home for extended periods during 2020, with some even being furloughed, and therefore having a lot of free time on their hands. And with other opportunities to spend their money, such as travel, eating out and entertainment, severely restricted, these circumstances combined to boost home improvement sales in 2020.
Another consequence of the pandemic in the region was the strong increase in sales made through internet retailing in 2020. This was observed in all markets, none more so than the UK, where more than two thirds of retail value was generated through e-commerce in this year. However, in spite of the dynamic performance of online sales in 2020, home improvement and gardening stores remain the dominant channel in home improvement.
After Western Europe saw strong growth in 2020, sales in the region are expected to record stagnating performances year on year from 2021. As society reopens fully across the region, consumers will have less time for carrying out home improvements, and will be once again allotting more of their earnings to things like travel and other leisure pursuits, shrinking the budgets available for DIY projects.
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