Exclusive research by NOP shows the extraordinary popularity of do-it-yourself in UK households. Two-thirds of all adults (people aged 15 and over) have made a DIY-related purchase in the past 12 months, and when young adults – who are less likely to be home owners – and the over 55s are taken out of the equation, involvement rises to 78 per cent.
With the exception of age, DIY has a remarkably even demographic profile, with little difference between men and women, the three TV regions or the social classes – although participation peaks among the most prosperous households, and is lowest in the poorest (who have the lowest rate of home ownership).
But the market is significantly segmented by value. A third of purchasers have tackled major projects, spending more than &£500 on DIY in the previous year. Twenty-two per cent spent between &£200 and &£500, 13 per cent spent &£100 to &£200, and the remaining 31 per cent less than &£100.
The major value of the market is concentrated among the highest spending sector, which accounts for at least two-thirds of all the money spent on DIY in the past year. These high spenders are evenly spread across the country, and there is little variation between social classes, except for a fall among the DEs.
However, this target market has some clear characteristics. Women make up 57 per cent of this group (although probably most of these purchases are ultimately household rather than personal spending).
The prime age group is 25- to 34-year- olds, who make up 31 per cent of this core sector (although they comprise 18 per cent of the adult population). Four out of ten 25- to 34- year-olds have spent more than &£500 on DIY, compared with three out of ten 35- to 54-year-olds, and less than 15 per cent of the other age groups.
Reasons for doing DIY
The major motivation for picking up the paintbrush or chisel is economy. Nine out of ten people “do it themselves” to save money – twice as many as those who found it “difficult to get work done by professionals”.
But there are also immediate and longer-term gains perceived in the exercise. Seventy-three per cent of DIYers believe that their efforts are “improving the value of my home”, although only 36 per cent are actively trying to reproduce the effects seen on television or magazines, and three-quarters confessed to carrying out DIY because they “enjoyed some aspects of it”.
Sources of ideas for DIY projects
More than half of all home decorators have taken an idea from a paint manufacturer’s leaflet or chart. This makes colour charts easily the most influential source of ideas for home projects (although this may be partly because twice as many people buy paint and wallpaper as any other DIY product). Point of sale also seems to be particularly influential in this market – another 38 per cent of purchasers had taken an idea from an in-store display.
Television programmes had inspired 45 per cent of purchasers, although ideas are seldom copied fully. A third of purchasers picked up ideas from general interest magazines and colour supplements – nearly twice as many as specialist home interest titles. Unusually, editorial and advertisements had the same degree of impact.
Nearly a quarter of buyers – 23 per cent – had used a DIY and design book; 11 per cent had picked up an idea from an exhibition or show.
Women take more interest than men in paint charts, and still seem to be in charge of colour schemes. Men are more likely to use DIY and design books, which often contain charts, diagrams and comprehensive construction details. Television and magazines, both specialist and general, seem to appeal equally to the sexes. However, the media sources have their strongest influence among 15- to 24-year-olds, rather than the key age group of 25- to 34-year-olds.
People who have spent more than &£500 on DIY have a higher interest in virtually all the sources discussed, with the exception of television programmes and exhibitions. It seems that these supply general entertainment, rather than project-related insight and ideas.
A major 88 per cent of purchasers bought paint or wallpaper, far more than any other type of product. One in two bought timber or MDF, 44 per cent fabric, and the same number power tools or equipment. Thirty-six per cent bought wall or floor tiles, and a similar percentage self-assembly furniture.
Product purchase is still defined by the traditional sexual roles. Nine out of ten women had bought paint or wallpaper, compared with eight out of ten men. Women also make up six out of ten fabric buyers, and 56 per cent of wall or floor tile buyers. But men were more likely than women to have bought power tools, self-assembly furniture and timber or MDF.
Most purchasers – 82 per cent – had bought more than one type of the products listed. A quarter had bought two types, another quarter three, and 35 per cent had bought four or more, showing that most projects involve more than just redecoration.
The number of categories bought rose with the amount spent, so that two-thirds of people spending &£500 or more bought at least four of the categories measured by NOP.
B&Q holds unchallenged sway over the market. Six out of ten consumers shopped at B&Q during the past 12 months, nearly twice as many as those who used the nearest contender, Homebase. Wickes and Fads/Focus (now merging with Do It All) attracted 11 per cent; Great Mills was the only other significant retailer, used by eight per cent.
One manufacturer, Dulux, holds a similarly dominant position in paint and wallpaper, the major market sector. Sixty-two per cent of purchasers had bought Dulux, almost three times as many as any other manufacturer’s or retailer’s brand. Twenty-two per cent bought a B&Q own-label product, followed by Crown at 18 per cent. Although more than 20 brands or retailer labels had been bought, only Homebase with 11 per cent, and Coloroll with seven per cent, had a significant franchise.