Home Improvement Customers Prefer Shopping in Physical Stores

While many physical stores are struggling to keep their doors open, it’s been a banner year for home improvement retailers. Even the unparalleled growth in e-commerce hasn’t slowed the sales momentum at local hardware stores around the country. Recently, J.D. Power released the 2021 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study. It indicates stores in this category maintained a consistent number of shoppers during the past year. About thirty percent of consumers are currently working on a project or plan to start one soon.

“The home improvement category is booming right now as part of the pandemic-related silver lining from people being home more and finally getting the time to tackle those home projects,” said Christina Cooley, director of the home intelligence practice at J.D. Power. “What’s interesting is that, unlike many other retail categories, when it comes to home improvement, customers are heading out to the stores to touch and feel the product before buying—and wanting to engage with store staff along the way.”

People feel safe shopping in-store
The vast majority of people (87 percent) prefer to shop in a home improvement store rather than purchase products on the retailer’s website (13 percent). Of those who shopped in-store, 98 percent said they felt safe and comfortable doing so at the peak of the pandemic.

Customers want fast service
The survey also says customers don’t want to spend more than five minutes looking for an item or aisle. Happily, most retailers (66 percent) met this threshold. However, what distinguished one store from another was the customer’s ability to receive help without requesting it.

  • Best-in-class retailers offered assistance 72 percent of the time
  • 50 percent of shoppers say they were offered help 50 percent of the time
  • Retailers with the lowest score offered assistance 49 percent of the time

Gen Y and Gen Z are Happiest Customers
Younger customers had the highest overall satisfaction scores on a 1,000-point-scale Gen Y, and Gen Z customers average 842. These generations significantly increased their spending on home improvement products this year. The satisfaction score drops to 824 for Gen X and Boomers. Forty-two percent of Gen Y and Gen Z consumers plan to start a project in the next three months or are already working on a project. Twenty-seven percent of older consumers are planning a project.

Ace Hardware Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction
For the 14th time in 15 years, Ace Hardware received the highest rating for customer satisfaction, with a score of 863. Menards ranks second with a score of 836.

  • Industry average 827
  • Lowes 824
  • The Home Depot 819

SOURCE J.D. Power: The 2021 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers by examining five factors (in alphabetical order): In-store experience, merchandise online experience; price; and staff and service. The study is based on responses from 2,172 customers who purchased home improvement-related products from a home improvement retailer within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded in January-February 2021.

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