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Why targeting home movers is so important in the age of COVID19.

At the time of launching our Moving Minds research, we could’ve never foreseen the seismic shift in, well, pretty much everything, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s safe to say a lot has changed in the last year, particularly for the home improvement sector.

In the final quarter of 2020, 12% of all British homeowners put their house on the market, motivated by things like the stamp duty holiday and an unusual year reflecting on our living requirements. Home-working and home-learning have both caused many to stop and think about what they want from their property. Last year, Rightmove reported a massive £37 billion worth of property sales agreed in July alone – the busiest month for home buying since they started tracking this data over ten years ago.

Fast forward to this year, and the latest data from Zoopla confirms the home moving trend is continuing into 2021, with buyers still reassessing lifestyle choices and keen to move. In the first two weeks of January home buying demand was up by 13% YoY . Supporting this, Aviva recently reported more than two fifths (43%) of UK adults are considering moving to a different type of setting in 2021, as a result of last year’s events.

Moving home is an ‘inertia-buster’ that changes our spending behaviours dramatically. In the first 12 months after moving, we spend roughly the same on home improvements as we do in the five years that follow. Now more than ever, brands in the home and property sector are faced with a huge opportunity and our Moving Minds study provides us with a deeper insight into the mindset, influences and motivations of those in the process of moving home. 

For those who completed their move during lockdown, all the enforced time in their new property has provided them with the chance to throw themselves into home improvement projects. Ebay data shows that during the first lockdown last year, demand in the DIY category spiked, with searches for ‘Interior & exterior paint’ rising 825% YoY, while searches for ‘Cordless drills’ jumped 135%. Supporting data from Kingfisher PLC demonstrates a 164% growth in online sales for quarter three of last year, while Dunelm paid back the government £1.5million in furlough costs after a period of record-breaking online trading. 

Yet, it’s not just more downtime at home that has led to increased DIY and home improvement purchases. Our Moving Minds study helps us understand why this might be as it investigates the vital role that home interiors play in the expression of our social identity – a key part of every person’s psychological makeup. Social identity expression is a strong motivator of purchase behaviour because it’s a source of support and self-esteem. With the dramatic and long-lasting disruption to our social identities the home caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re turning to our homes more than ever to fill that void.

The lockdown has forced many to rely less on the clothes they wear and the restaurants they eat in to express social identities. Instead, people are turning to the curation of their surroundings as a way of expressing themselves and their mindsets.

Interestingly, this might tell us a little more about the home interior trends of the past year, and those going forward. One of the major interior design trends of 2020/21 is ‘70s decor - rattan, warm colours and house plants have made their way back into homes of the 21st century. Refinery21 suggests why this might be:

 “Despite economic hardships at home, the '70s held a sense of optimism about the future as travel and technology grew. This was reflected in home design: things may be bad now but they could be better. Perhaps our renewed interest in '70s design in 2021 speaks to our wish to return to this sense of optimism and curiosity and even (whisper it) joy. But unlike the forward-looking '70s, we’re now looking back, seeking comfort in a decade which seems a world away.”

Consequently, there’s a huge – and immediate – opportunity for marketers to tune into this purchase driver and craft marketing campaigns around it. By tapping into the motivations and psychology behind these purchase decisions, we can create campaign messaging, materials and media plans that resonate and influence more effectively. 

For brands in the home improvement and DIY sector our Moving Minds study can really help focus marketing strategies so that our marketing messages really resonate at a time when people are most likely to spend. To download the full Moving Minds report and find out more about how psychological attitudes and motivations drive home mover purchases, head to the tab at the bottom of your screen. 

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