Lakes Comment: Q2 2021

Mick Evans, Operations Director Lakes is BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering.

Half-way through 2021, there are many reasons to be optimistic for internal trades.

Consumer research points to the home improvement trend gathering pace for internal trades. A report on Insight DIY suggests that two thirds of UK homeowners are planning home makeovers in the next year, with a new bathroom the top choice for 32%. People want more and better spaces in their homes and this is driving the RMI trend.

The Bank of England says households have accumulated £260bn in their savings accounts since the start of the pandemic. According to the research commissioned for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles two thirds of homeowners are planning to spend up to £135bn of this next year on improving their home. Savings and intentions to spend are distributed unequally though as the pandemic has increased the divide between the Haves who are driving a growing market for premium products and high quality improvements, and the Have Nots, homeowners whose outgoings leave little room for such spending.

However, meeting strong demand for bathroom installations still comes with its challenges. According to the BIKBBI, almost half of installers (47%) have had to cancel jobs due to being pinged by the NHS Covid app. The August changes to self-isolation rules should put an end to the ‘ping-demic’ and those unexpected losses, as order books for the remainder of the year are looking healthy.

Shipping problems are still prevalent. A world economy synchronised by Covid is expanding, driving demand – and shortages – for home improvement and construction products worldwide. Components coming from China or the Far East are affected by port congestion at both ends of the journey, and by container shortages and increased freight prices. Delays and extra costs are likely to cast a shadow over the industry’s recovery well into the Autumn.

With the re-introduction of stamp duty, more people are likely to choose to improve not move in the second half of the year. These customers will be researching online before they buy, so it’s important to have a strong digital presence, and a personable showroom experience to ensure homeowners get the products they want.

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