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Consumer trends for home improvement

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Angie Barnett

From 2019 to 2020, consumer interest in businesses related to the home improvement industry showed strong growth in the Better Business Bureau® directory.

After spending much of the past 12 months at home, consumers are beginning to notice all the ways their houses aren’t fulfilling their current needs.

Now, they’re in the market for professionals who can help them get closer to their dream home.

Here are 3 consumer trends that will be important to businesses in the home improvement industry.

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Despite economic uncertainty, home sales actually increased in 2020, and experts predict 2021 will be another strong year. According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials accounted for the largest share of home buyers last year, making up 38 percent of purchases. An analysis of the real estate market cited by Qualified Remodeler asserts that young adults take on about 35 percent more remodeling projects than other homeowners.

With young adults driving much of the growth in the real estate market, demand for home improvement industry professionals is likely to remain high throughout 2021.

Plus, as more buyers compete for a limited supply of homes, they’re likely to show greater interest in homes requiring renovation – another potential benefit to the home improvement industry.

In addition to using online search engines to discover home improvement professionals, consumers are taking greater care to scrutinize businesses using their various online profiles. According to a consumer survey by BrightLocal, “87 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81 percent in 2019.”

BrightLocal also found that people who read customer reviews consider a business’s overall rating to be the most important takeaway.

This bolsters findings of a 2021 International Association of Better Business Bureaus Consumer Survey in which 88 percent of consumers familiar with BBB ratings reported they are more likely to do business with a company displaying an A or A+ rating.

High ratings are therefore one of the strongest factors influencing consumer buying decisions.

Searches for home improvement professionals are up across BBB.org. Compared with 2019, consumer searches for roofing, home improvement, general contractor and remodeling professionals each increased in 2020. Of those four industries, three saw double-digit growth in traffic on BBB.org. Roofing came out on top with a 26 percent growth in traffic and 2.2 million total searches.

Strong growth on BBB.org reveals multiple trends. First, consumers are simply interested in completing more home improvements to improve their home office setups, outdoor spaces and check off projects they’d been putting off prior to the pandemic.

More importantly, they’re placing greater value on connecting with businesses who have been evaluated by BBB.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland.

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