PARIS: Many retailers have been caught off-guard by coronavirus restrictions and shifting consumer habits, but DIY stores are enjoying a boom as people spend money on their homes and gardens.
A recent report by consulting group McKinsey found that faced with a prolonged period of financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, consumers “intend to continue shifting their spending largely to essentials ... and cutting back on most discretionary categories.”
Data has shown consumers worldwide are cutting back on clothing and shoes, but spending more to improve their homes.
In Britain, the sector has helped consumer spending overall to rebound to a level higher than before the pandemic hit.
“Spending for home improvements continued to rise in August as sales volumes within household goods stores increased by 9.9 percent when compared with February,” Britain’s Office for National Statistics said this month.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as people are spending more time at home, and even when not under lockdown, many people are working from home or have fewer public activities to participate in.
A recent survey carried out in 20 countries by consulting firm Accenture found that over two-thirds of respondents expect most of their social activities will take place at their home or that of a friend.
The unease and concern that many people now feel in public spaces may push a lasting shift toward people spending more time at home, with Accenture even calling it a “decade of the home.”
Certainly many Germans have used coronavirus downtime to “repair, refurbish and decorate their homes,” the country’s BHB trade association for home improvement, building and gardening said in a recent report.
Sales in the sector rose by 15.6 percent year-on-year to nearly €12 billion ($14 billion) over the first half of 2020, boosted by the fact that many DIY stores and garden centers were allowed to stay open during virus lockdowns.