A Europe-wide survey by the owners of B&Q Ireland indicates that a large proportion of Irish homeowners spend money on home improvement, and that, along with the UK, Ireland is the country where homeowners are most likely to carry out internal and external painting and decorating themselves.
While the assumption might be that home improvement will add value to the property, the majority of those in the Irish survey group said they made improvements simply to ‘refresh the home’, with ‘more home-based entertaining’, and ‘leisure activities’ also cited.
The Irish are also keen gardeners, according to the survey, willing to tackle their own gardening jobs, and even taking on the ‘grow your own’ trend, producing their own garden vegetables too.
The home improvement retailer’s first European Home Report surveyed 15,000 householders’ attitudes to home improvement, covering France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Spain, and Russia, providing an insight into consumer and home improvement trends.
The report also highlights that the majority (66 per cent) of young adults in Ireland, aged between 19 and 24, still live at home with one or both parents, a fact staff at the B&Q flagship store in Dublin’s Liffey Valley say is leading more householders to adapt their homes for children living with the family longer, and also to accommodate elderly relatives.
Key findings of the European Home Report relating to Ireland and the UK include:
• Eighty four per cent of householders in the Irish survey group plan to spend money on some sort of home improvement in the next year, which is above the European average of 75 per cent, and 76 per cent of those questioned said they find home improvement rewarding.
• The keenest gardeners in Europe are in the UK and Ireland, with 81 per cent saying they are happy to take on gardening jobs. The ‘grow your own’ trend is also well established in Ireland, with 26 per cent of those surveyed saying they have started growing vegetables.
• Sixty per cent of respondents expressed an interest in making improvements simply to refresh the home, compared to an average of 52 per cent across Europe, and people also said they made changes to cater for more home-based entertaining (31 per cent) and leisure activities (34 per cent).
• More home improvers in Ireland and the UK tackle internal (56 per cent) and external (15 per cent) painting and decorating, without expert help, than in other countries. DIYers here are also most likely to do their own tiling (38 per cent), and insulation (22 per cent) projects, and report high confidence levels in tackling home improvement.
Highlights of the overall pan-European Survey include:
• Nine out of 10 households across Europe undertake home improvement projects.
• Home improvement is a bigger priority than holidays (75 per cent vs 59 per cent) in deciding where to spend money.
• Increasing a property’s value only comes fifth in a list of reasons to carry out home improvement. ‘Refreshing’ the home comes top, with adapting to changing family needs third; reflecting the economic environment where people increasingly view their house as a home, rather than a financial investment.
• Internal painting and decorating is the number one home improvement activity.
• Fifty two per cent of householders plan to live in their home for at least 10 years, a clear sign of the growing “improve, don’t move” trend.
According to John Brooker of B&Q Ireland, the company’s European Home Report confirms the trend in B&Q outlets across Ireland, where there is increased interest in home improvement and DIY from the general public, where previously tradesmen might have been employed. The motivation for home improvement has also changed.
“The ‘do it up and sell it on’ property ladder approach of the economic boom years has moved towards a more emotional emphasis on creating a better home to enjoy a better quality of life,” he said. “Plus, having got involved in decorating and DIY projects around the home, many of our B&Q customers are actually discovering a great sense of satisfaction in the work.”
Home improvement trends
Twenty three per cent of people surveyed carried out home improvements because technology changes have made it easier to work from home. Consumers across most of Europe list their top home improvement activity as internal painting and decorating, and other top choices include renewing home furnishings, followed by upgrading a kitchen or bathroom.
National differences are also apparent in the B&Q survey. The French are the keenest DIYers, in terms of the amount spent on home improvements in the past 12 months, with Poland, the UK, Ireland, Turkey, and Germany spending the least. Householders in Ireland, the UK, and Germany are also more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to improve their gardens, while in Turkey, home security and lighting are most important.
About a third of consumers undertake DIY tasks at least once a month, with one in 10 of these falling into the category of ‘weekend warriors’, who carry out jobs in their homes on a weekly basis.
Shopping habits, confirmed by B&Q Ireland, show that the internet is used extensively when undertaking home improvement jobs, but mainly for research, comparing prices, and seeking advice, rather than making purchases. Thirty five per cent of respondents said they buy home improvement products online, with the Germans being the most likely to do so (48 per cent) and the French the least (21 per cent).
Making their homes eco-friendly is an important issue for consumers across Europe, with 32 per cent saying it is “very important” to them. Asked to identify the best eco-investments for homes, energy efficient products were most popular, suggesting the motivation to save money through lower energy bills is as important as the planet.