Houzz | 5 mega consumer trends driving home improvement

VP of industry marketing at online home design platform Houzz, Liza Hausman shares consumer mega trends and their impact on home improvement

18 Jan, 24

After a turbulent few years, the pandemic, cost of living pressures and world conflicts have impacted consumer behaviour. Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing at online home design platform Houzz, shares what pros need to know about these five changes and how they will impact the home improvement market this year.

Houzz | 5 mega consumer behaviour trends driving home improvement

Changing demographics

The 2021 UK census results confirmed that the population is ageing, with the total number of people above the age of 65 higher than ever before.

Family units are also changing, now often featuring non-traditional structures. As a result, multigenerational homes are on the rise, with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing a 14% rise in adult children living with their parents between 2011 and 2021.

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Known as the reverse boomerang effect, the move is often driven by changing attitudes about family life, high housing costs and challenges finding affordable child care.

There is a growing need for homes to adapt to meet these changing needs, ensuring they can work well for the whole household.

Pursuit of experiences

Experiences are now the biggest competition for share of wallet. As the world opened up again after the pandemic, people are embracing travel and in-person events. HSBC reports that most global economies’ spending has rotated from goods to services, with spending on experiences rising while many categories of goods remain flat.

We’ve already seen a rising interest in search terms on Houzz related to hosting and entertaining in the home.

Position the home as an opportunity for clients to create experiences, highlighting projects that tap into this trend.

Anxiety antidotes

While homeowners are seeking experiences outside the home, they also want to address the high level of stress and anxiety experienced today.

Disruption to routines, isolation from loved ones and a lack of division between home and work life have given rise to chronic multitasking.

According to The Workplace Health Report, this has led to more than three-quarters of employees reporting moderate-to-high or high stress levels.

Our homes have always been a sanctuary to escape to, but this may be more important than ever before.

Over recent years on Houzz, we’ve seen rising interest in zen-like spaces, with ‘spathrooms’ designed to relax and unwind in.

We expect this to seep into other rooms with our 2024 predictions highlighting a need for soft and comforting spaces, with warm, rich colour palettes and sumptuous textures taking centre stage.

Selective splurging

Homeowners may be feeling cost of living pressures, as rising interest rates and inflation impact disposable incomes, but they are still spending.

McKinsey reports that 80% of consumers are changing their shopping behaviour by trading down (74% the year prior). KPMG also found that a third plan to buy more own brand and value produce, rather than branded products.

Surprisingly, it’s widely reported that spending on bigger ticket items hasn’t dropped as much as expected, as people cut back on day-to-day spending to allow the occasional treat.

KPMG reports that home improvements often fall into this category.

Our own Houzz research certainly echoes this sentiment. The latest homeowner activity survey found that while some are cautious about planning renovations, with 12% pausing their renovation plans, less than 1% cancelled a project.

Demand also remains strong in 2024, with more than a quarter of homeowners planning to start a project this year.

High-tech expectations

The pandemic accelerated a growing shift in what homeowners expect from who they hire. With technology at their fingertips for everything from banking, shopping and travel, why should their renovation project be any different?

Customers want better project and financial visibility, clear communication and help with visualising the design, and they expect technology – together with the professionals they hire – to make the process easier.

Software tools like Houzz Pro are helping design and construction professionals streamline their work and provide a standout experience for their clients, with less effort.