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Photo: Tomasz Zajda

More than 110,000 American and Canadian households responded to Home Innovation Research Labs’ Consumer Practices Survey, which gained insight into how homeowners chose to spend their money last year. The big home trends that spawned from the pandemic—outdoor living, comfort, function—are not just industry talk, they were the most embarked home projects last year, according to survey results. Comparing 2020 results to 2019, nearly all types of home improvement projects increased. The top projects were outdoor living structures, doors, and outdoor accessories, all of which increased year over year by 20%.

A cursory analysis of the much-anticipated findings reveals how COVID-19 impacted the home improvement industry in numerous project categories. Understanding the new trajectory of the market can help building products manufacturers and suppliers prepare for a successful 2021.

In the analysis, we compared the percentage of households undertaking repair and remodeling projects in 2019 and 2020. Table 1 summarizes the findings. The most striking difference is that remodeling projects seemed to have increased in all categories in our study – anywhere from a few percent to more than 20 percent year-over-year.

The top four answers create a tier related (directly or indirectly) to outdoor living. First, Outdoor Living Structures (decks, patios, porches, fences, etc.) are a direct reflection of people wanting to spend more quality time outside. Second, Exterior Doorways are often upgraded when outdoor living space is upgraded. Third, Outdoor Accessories —privacy screens, pergolas, arbors, planter boxes, benches — help make outdoor spaces more functional, comfortable, and/or attractive.

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