The pro market in the home improvement sector can be defined in numerous ways. One of the clear distinctions can be overall spend, with Pros generally spending more than DIY customers. However, it can also be the case that households or DIY customers demonstrate a high spend at certain times, for example when they are completing a project at home.
Therefore, perhaps a more accurate distinction can be found as over time, professionals and households show very distinct purchase patterns. Household purchases cluster around a specific project at a specific time, whereas professional purchases tend to cluster around a profession – say, electrical supplies. Furthermore, professionals show a much higher repeat purchase of major items.
Despite defining consumers with high spend and distinct purchasing patterns as professionals, many do in fact shop in the larger big box DIY and home improvement stores rather than speciality retailers. But what role can this market play in overall sales volume, and why are certain retailers positioning themselves to target this pro market?
What is the pro market?
The pro market is, in essence, the sales of good to individuals who then complete projects for others. For example, a pro shopper could be a plumber who buys a new sink from a retailer to be installed in one of their customer’s homes.
Why is pro market Important
This market is important as pro consumers are considered to be more frequent visitors to stores and demonstrate brand loyalty.
Advantages of pro market
A further advantage of the pro market is that pros are more likely to purchase big ticket items, and items needed to complete an entire project, resulting in a higher average spend than a DIY customer. To emphasise this, research conducted by numerator found that “the [pro consumers] are worth 141% more than the DIYer to these Home Improvement categories and retailers.”[+ info]
Despite the above distinction of what a pro customer is there is still some ambiguity as these pros can either act through a registered company, or privately as a “handyman”, and this variation can be quite dramatic on a global scale. For example, in countries in which labour is generally more affordable there are a lot more Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) projects completed with the help of pros.
What is the market size of the home improvement industry?
As shared above, numerator research found that “the [pro consumers] are worth 141% more than the DIYer”. Further to this, The Home Depot recently published a Press Release in which they shared that they believe the pro customer represent a $450 billion marketplace.
It is important to remember that this figure covers North America alone. Therefore, when extrapolating this figure on a global scale, it is clear that this business could represent a trillion dollar sector. Considering these two figures, it is evident that gaining share in the pro sector is essential to increasing sales.
What companies are in the home improvement industry?
The desire to acquire market share in this sector is apparent in that numerous chains have developed pro-orientated shopping channels. For example, the online home improvement retailer ManoMano launched ManoPro, Cainz in Japan have launched their chain of C’z PRO stores and, as recently as January this year, The Home Depot added new enhancements to their pro extra loyalty program.
In order to target this pro-market segment, it is essential to know what the pro customer wants. There is of course variety in customer needs, but several core principles for the pro are universal. These are fast service, product availability & range, competitive prices, reward programmes, and the offer of financing.
Other factors, for example online invoicing and the opportunity to rent tools, are currently less important, but still help attract pros in certain markets, and are likely to grow in relevance in coming years.
Relation between retailers and pro market
The Pro market is an essential consideration when aiming to increase market share. As annual reports from 2022 demonstrated, companies that had a heavier focus on the pro-consumer seemed to demonstrate more robust growth last year. This, alongside the current challenges the industry is facing, is a clear indication that targeting the pro-consumer in the home improvement industry can lead to sales growth.