Consumers expanded what home means during the pandemic, and key segments are just getting started on the rework.
It’s going to be a busy year for the home products business. Home, Reimagined from Blue Chip finds that 84% of consumers plan to take on a home project in next 12 months, fueled by a renewed appreciation for what home means.
Homeowners have a new scorecard for what matters now. They associate home primarily with comfort (70%), family (66%) and safety (63%). Instead of gourmet kitchens, spa features in bathrooms and other haute design touches, they’re prioritizing natural light, private space, high-quality air filtration, adequate storage and outdoor space.
“There’s a new charisma around home,” said Peter Picard, vp/strategic planning and research at Blue Chip. “More people are developing new homing instincts. Home is becoming a verb, emphasizing the restorative nature of personal space in complicated times. The features that matter most to people have powerful emotional associations.”
And these associations extend to every room in the house. Notably, the backyard is now considered not only an extension of the house, but one of the most important spaces in the home. Fully 77% plan to entertain outdoors this year, an 83% increase over a year ago, and 75% will tackle an outdoor renovation project this year, a 10% increase from last year. Similarly, 77% will invest in their gardens, an 11% increase over last year.
Research revealed that the new home creators comprise four interrelated mindsets and motivations. Marketing on these frequencies will be key for home-related brands.
Curators have renovated and remodeled homes during the pandemic, and one in three will continue to expand space and refine personal style in the next 12 months. Curators favor functional design and concentrate on private and storage spaces, workstations and exercise areas.
“Curators are idea people,” said Picard. “They feed their imaginations with what’s possible, from new ways to use paint to ways to use furniture, and then look for the products to make that happen. Marketers can do this with dream books and instructional content that tells people how long it will take to do something.”
Hosters will enhance comfort by investing in bedrooms (42%), kitchens (40%) and living/family rooms (39%). Nearly 85% will eat meals as a family in the year ahead, a 57% increase from last year. For hosters, the home is a place to gather the outside world, from family and friends to the whole neighborhood.
“Hosters have a renewed sense of home pride,” said Picard. “Their attitude is, ‘This is us. Welcome in.’”
New DIYers are deepening what it means to make home your own. Whereas traditional DIYers tend to be skilled craftsmen who build everything from decks to plumbing systems themselves, the new DIYers are younger men (25-44 ) and older women (55-64) who take on enhancements like LED recessed lighting, and new faucets.
“New DIYers bond with their homes by doing smaller projects themselves,” said Sonja Evans, director of business intelligence and strategy at Blue Chip. “For them, it’s less about the craft and all about making a personal, emotional investment.”
Outsiders are doing everything they can for their most important room – the yard. In the next year, 77% plan to keep entertaining outside, with 73% continuing/expanding outdoor space projects and 77% taking on gardening projects. Simple tips and skills videos go a long way with this group, which just looks to put their visions within reach.
“Overall, there’s a tremendous opportunity for brands that become more solution- than product-focused,” said Evans. “People are discovering new skills around home. A lot of people tell us they’ve surprised themselves, and that’s given them confidence to take on more. Give them direction, other people’s stories, and a place to tell their own, and they’ll do more and buy more.”
Blue Chip surveyed 800 homeowners this spring. Study participants were even spread across states, areas (53% urban, 33% suburban, 15% rural) and income segments, with a majority college-educated and 80% living in single-family homes.