A New D-I-Y

There is also a new D-I-Y, consumer described by Black de Decker’s Hanson as the “light” do-it-yourselfer. Often well-educated professional men and relative newcomers to home repair and improvement, “the light do-it-yourselfers are looking at simple task around the house as relaxation,” she said. D-I-Y projects give them a chance to work with their hands and achieve a feeling of accomplishment.

The light do-it-yourselfer reflects a changing attitude toward home improvement. “It’s now a leisure activity,” said Andre Doxey, Rubbermaid’s manager of color and┬álifestyle trends. Consumers are embracing D-I-Y as a creative and a refreshing break from their everyday jobs. “It’s not labor anymore more, it’s fun,” Doxey said.

To attract female and light do-it-yourselfers, said Hanson at Black & Decker, “manufacturers have increased [the] focus on convenience and simplicity of use.” Black & Decker developed a line of smaller, lighter, ergonomic power tools that target the entry-level do-it-yourselfer, and the company’s new flexible SnakeLight flashlight features hands-free convenience.

The drive for convenience includes D-I-Y products with added features, such as tool box with a lid-access tray or a tool carrier that doubles as a step stool. When it comes to attracting the D-I-Y customer, said Dehner at Rubbermaid, “The smart retailer will be looking at value-added benefits.”

Meanwhile, there are serious do-it-yourselfers, who aspire to professional-level skills. Dehner calls them “wannabes,” and they’re attracted to higher-end, professional-style D-I-Y products. Black & Decker recently introduced a midrange line for the serious do-it-yourselfer that bridges the gap between entry-level and professional power tools.

In the growing D-I-Y market, “there’s an economic dynamic,” noted Black & Decker’s Hanson. “There’s less money to go around, and people are less likely to hire a handyman.”

Retail Opportunities

* Products that offer ease and convenience

* Multifunctional products

* Knowledgeable sales help and informative point-of-purchase materials

* Cross-category merchandising that groups all the products required to do a job

* Products for entry-level do- it- yourselfers, including women

* Professional-style products for the serious do-it-yourselfer

Do-It-Yourself by the

Numbers

* About 44 percent of the time, the family member most involved in D-I-Y activities is female.

* More than 17 percent of men rate their D-I-Y skills as “expert,” compared to only 6 percent of women.

* One-third of consumers owning homes in the $200,000 or $250,000 range say they frequently do home improvement projects.

* Sixty percent of tool boxes are purchased by women.

Sources: Women in the Hardware Industry; Building Supply Home Centers/NFOResearch Inc.; Rubbermaid Inc.

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