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Home Improvement
Quarterly Index
2022: Q1

Foot traffic to home improvement retailers was up by 2.0% in Q1 compared to Q1 2019, following three straight quarters of QoQ drops. But even as the pandemic-induced surge tapers off, overall quarterly visits are still higher than they were before the pandemic – no easy feat given the retail landscape of the past couple of months. And since winter is typically one of the slower seasons, visit growth may well pick up again as the warmer weather sets in and consumers begin new springtime projects. 

Analyzing dozens of brands including:

A Difficult March

Nationwide weekly home improvement visits started off strong in 2022, with the category remaining comfortably ahead of its pre-pandemic visit numbers. But by March, weekly visits had fallen below 2019 levels – perhaps rising gas prices kept consumers thinking twice about driving to the home improvement store. In Q2, with gas prices hopefully returning to lower levels and the spring high season still in gear, contractors and DIY customers may just bring the category back to growth. 

“Nationwide weekly home Improvement visits started off strong in 2022, but by March, weekly visits had fallen below 2019 levels.”

-6.0%
Yo3Y decrease in weekly visits for the week of 3/28/22

Visit Length Down

The median length of home improvement visits in Q1 dropped by 4.5% YoY and by 2.6% QoQ. This means that the drop in visit numbers wasn’t compensated by longer visit times – visits in Q1 2022 were shorter than they were last quarter or last year. But the drop in median visit length is not necessarily cause for concern – it could simply be a product of the return to a lower baseline following the heights of 2021 coupled with normal seasonality.  

“The drop in median visit length is not necessarily cause for concern – it could simply be a product of the return to a lower baseline following the heights of 2021 coupled with normal seasonality.”

-4.5%
Median visit length in Q1 2022 down by 4.5% YoY

Weekend Visits Rise Again

As the country opened back up in mid-2021, weekend retail visits took a hit across most categories. Many consumers who were still enjoying more flexible schedules took care of their errands during weekdays and left weekends open for leisure activities or to reconnect with family and friends. But the cold weather, rising COVID cases, and ongoing return to routine in Q1 contributed to a rise in weekend retail visits across most sectors, including in the home improvement category.

“The cold weather, rising COVID cases, and ongoing return to routine in Q1 contributed to a rise in weekend retail visits across most sectors, including in the home improvement category.”

+37.8%
Weekend home improvement visits rose to 37.8% in Q1 2022

Home Improvement & Furnishings Growth Leaders

Although many home improvement retailers have seen their visits slowly move closer to 2019 levels, the quarterly comparisons to Q1 2019 show that several home improvement and home furnishing brands have successfully transformed the short-term home improvement craze into long-term gains. On the home improvement side, Ace Hardware and Tractor Supply Co. saw their Q1 visits increase by double-digits compared to Q1 2019, despite the overall slowdown in the sector. And on the home furnishing side, Floor & Decor’s Yo3Y foot traffic jumped by 37.9% in Q1 – an indication that the heightened demand for home-focused retail created by the pandemic is still having an impact on retailers’ offline traffic numbers.   

“The heightened demand for home-focused retail created by the pandemic is still having an impact on retailers’ offline traffic numbers.”

+42.5%
Tractor Supply quarterly visits were up 42.5% compared to Q1 2019

Summary

The home improvement sector reached wild heights over the past two years, and Q1 traffic numbers indicate that the sector has started to move closer to its pre-pandemic foot traffic patterns. But diving into weekly Q1 visits reveals that the relative dip in home improvement visits may be more connected to the wider economic situation and its impact on consumer spending than to any decreased interest in home improvement products. The weekly foot traffic trends coupled with the impressive Yo3Y visit numbers still seen by some retailers indicate that despite the downturn of the past couple of weeks, the category as a whole is still strong. 

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