Market Trends September 2018
Remodeling Market Forecast
The remodeling market should be strong through at least the middle of 2019, according to a new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The center forecasts that homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will rise at an annual rate of 7.2% over the next four quarters, up from 6.6% during the previous four. The strong job market and strengthening economy have encouraged owners to invest in their homes. Homeowners have also been fixing and improving their homes and apartments because they expect to stay put for the foreseeable future. Many people can’t afford a new home, or at least cannot afford the home they would like. So instead they renovate kitchens and bathrooms, replace roofs and windows and add room additions and decks. Rising values give homeowners “permission” to invest in larger projects.
Amazon will capture 49.1% of all ecommerce sales in 2018, according to new research from eMarketer, which specializes in data in the digital marketplace. Amazon’s closest competitor is seen as eBay, which is expected to capture 6.6% of sales, followed by Apple with 3.9% and Walmart with 3.7%. The following six retailers in the top ten, which includes The Home Depot, are all predicted to capture between 1.1% and 1.5% of total online sales. According to eMarketer, Amazon already controls nearly 5% of the total US retail market, including both online and offline. They also expect Amazon ecommerce sales to rise 29% this year to $258 billion.
Analysts hailed outstanding quarterly results from Walmart and Target as evidence that “retail is back.” Analysts say that the current tough competitive environment is weeding out troubled retailers and causing others to step up their game, sprucing up stores, adding more ecommerce delivery options and improving service with better-trained and higher-paid employees. Target CEO Brian Cornell said it was possibly the strongest consumer environment he’s seen in his 37-year career. GlobalData Retail said that the American retail sector is enjoying a renaissance, and the retailers who are excelling are spending billions to tailor a better shopping experience and deflect the threat from Amazon. Retailers who can’t afford to invest in the store experience will ultimately lose the battle for the consumers’ wallet.
The Last Mile
The Last Mile is how the ultimate journey from the retailer to the customer’s home or business is described; Last Mile is a space traditionally dominated by the USPS, FedEx and UPS; now everyone is fighting to claim a share. Amazon has been exploring air and land drone delivery, lockers in pre-designated urban locations, partnerships with traditional retailers like Kohl’s and their own fleet of Uber-like Amazon drivers. Large retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy and home improvement giants use their stores as distribution centers. One of the benefits of retailers taking control of the last mile is the ability to send orders out of locations with the appropriate inventory and fulfill orders for items that are out of stock in physical stores.
Top Home Improvement Stores with Consumers
Ace Hardware is the consumers’ choice for home improvement, according to the latest ranking from Market Force. Ace dominated the home improvement category, with a composite customer loyalty score of 68%, besting Menards at 58% and Lowe’s at 54%. Home Depot came in fourth at 54% and Walmart trailed with 36%. Ace was also first in scores for several attributes that mattered most to customers, including value for the price, store cleanliness, checkout speed, store layout and merchandise availability. Menards tied with Ace for first place for merchandise variety. Lowe’s took second place for merchandise availability and store layout and came in fourth for value for price. Market Force said that Ace may have outscored the larger-format stores because service is very important to people on the store level, and the customer experience relies on being able to find what you need and someone to help. The survey was conducted online in June 2018 and represented a cross-section of the four US Census regions and a broad spectrum of income levels, with 55% reporting annual household incomes of more than $50,000. Customers particularly liked Ace’s loyalty program, with 70% choosing it. Lowe’s ranked second in that category for their MyLowe’s program, with 28% of the votes.
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