Home improvement boom may be slowing down, warns expert

There are already signs that the home improvements spending boom may be cooling down, according to one KBB digital marketing expert.

Lead Wolf, which specialises in digital marketing and analysis in the KBB market, has seen early indications that aggregate search volumes for the kitchen market for June and July were 38% down on volumes seen in the three months to May.

Lead Wolf looked at more than 2,000 search phrases in Google pertaining to kitchen purchases on a data set of 3.35 million.

With a significant number of buyers these days doing their research online, Lead Wolf managing director Graeme Wilson said: “We have high confidence that this is representative of present new purchase intent levels. Search volume was an average of 38% higher in the three months to May than the average for June and July. With sales cycles typically 60 to 120 days, it will take time for this trend to manifest in reduced order intake for retailers, and it’s probably a further 30 to 180 days beyond that the suppliers will start to see the impact.”

Looking at data for bathroom searches, Lead Wolf found that these were down 25% in June/July compared with April/May, which in turn was down 19.4% on March/April. Overall, the June/July search volumes were down 40% on March/April, which puts them below those for December.

Wilson added: “Of course, this is only two months’ worth of data, and we would want to see the number for August and September, especially once children have returned to school. What’s important is that retailers and manufacturers keep an eye on their top of funnel metrics to give them time to forward plan.”

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This comes after news emerged from IMRG Capgemini that May and June saw the steepest falls in online retail sales in the history of the index, which tracks the performance of more than 200 online retailers. It pointed to a continuing slowdown in the online sales rot with weekly figures indicating that while sales fell by 14% in the first week of July, they were only 5% down in the final week of that month.

Looking at two of the most closely KBB-related categories covered by the index, electricals showed a year-on-year decline of 12.2% in July (-11.3% month on month), while furniture experienced a 27% year-on-year drop (-0.6% month on month).

Wilson at Lead Wolf added: “But retailers should not worry about the size of the cake, they should worry about the size of their slice.”

He offered some practical tips for improving performance in Google searches: “Even if search demand is down 23%, you can mitigate this by improving your performance in Google Search. For example, if you presently rank position eight in search results or the local map, and you improve that to position six, you’ll double your click volume.”

He added: “There are lots of things you can do to try to improve this, such as better content, fast page load times, back-links from other websites, improved technical SEO, and more reviews on Google. A good SEO strategy has your rankings increasing- growing the size of your slice, no matter how big the cake.”  

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