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Home Improvement
Quarterly Index
2021: Q3

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Over the past year and a half, the home improvement sector emerged as one of the major pandemic winners. And although Q3 visits dipped below the heights set during the pandemic in Q3 2020, the sector is maintaining much of its year-over-two-year visit gains. While it might be too early to talk about COVID’s permanent impact on the sector, foot traffic data so far seems to indicate that the home improvement craze of 2020 has given the sector a significant and lasting boost.

Analyzing dozens of brands including:

Home Improvement Holding onto Pandemic Gains

While home improvement visits are no longer hitting 2020 peaks, the sector is still drawing significantly more quarterly visits than it did in 2019. Still, the visit surplus does appear to be gradually shrinking with every quarter. As more and more people return to their regular routines and find themselves with less time to pursue new hobbies, home improvement visits may continue to fall slightly. But the year-over-two-year increase in visits is still quite significant, and the home improvement visit increases alongside the impressive lift from home furnishings leaders indicate that the sector is still thriving amidst the constant COVID-induced retail upheavals. 

“The year-over-two-year increase in visits is still quite significant, and indicates that the sector is still thriving amidst the constant COVID-induced retail upheaval.”

+10.0%
10.0% Yo2Y Increase in Home Improvement Visits

Visits per Venue Rise, Visit Duration Drops

In Q3, the average number of visits per home improvement store rose by 7.3% while the median visit length fell by 2.8% in comparison with 2019. This is in line with the data from Q1 and Q2, during which visits per venue also rose while median visit duration fell compared to two years ago. This may indicate that visiting the hardware store is becoming a more regular part of people’s routines. Rather than visiting a home improvement store once in a blue moon, consumers are visiting these stores more frequently, for shorter visits, and picking up only what they need. The shift towards more frequent, shorter visits may also indicate the growing return of professional contractors – a critical audience – to the mix.

“Visiting the hardware store is becoming a regular part of people’s routines.”

-2.8%
2.8% Yo2Y Drop in Median Visit Duration

Weekday Visit Growth Surpassing Weekend Visit Growth

Similar to other sectors, weekday visits to home improvement stores have risen faster than weekend visits. This could be another sign of the shift in the sector’s positioning. Whereas a trip to the home improvement store used to be a big deal – something you save for the weekend – consumers are now shopping for hardware mid-week. The rising weekday visits may also be due to the return of contractors and home remodels following the pent-up demand of 2020 and to the impact of summer staycations.

"Like in other sectors, weekday visits to home improvement stores have risen faster than weekend visits."

+11.5%
Yo2Y home improvement weekday visits have risen by 11.5%

Year-over-two-year Visits Up Across the Board

Every hardware store chain analyzed received more visits in Q3 than it did in the same quarter in 2019. Tractor Supply led the pack with a 44.7% increase in visits, while Ace Hardware and Rural King saw a 22.5% and 20.8% jump in visits, respectively, when compared to Q3 2019. The across-the-board growth is a testament to the real and lasting increase in demand for home improvement products and indicates that the sector’s visit growth is not merely due to a couple of outliers. 

“Every hardware store chain we looked at received more visits this quarter than it did in Q3 2019.”

+44.7%
Yo2Y visits to Tractor Supply up by 44.7%

Summary

Although home improvement stores are no longer hitting the visit peaks of 2020, the sector is largely maintaining its pandemic gains, with year-over-two-year vsits to hardware stores up across the board. The increase in weekday visits and the rise in visit frequency coupled with the decrease in visit duration indicates that contractors have returned, and that consumers are increasingly integrating a trip to the hardware store as part of their normal shopping routine.  

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