Finding New Home Customers During the Coronavirus Crisis

Coronavirus has disrupted the way we do any “Do-It-For-Me”, consultancy-based home business in Australia. The virus has created the perfect storm; on the one hand, once-promising customers have become cautious, on the other, a new type of customer — one who always had the money but now has the time — is asking for a speedy installation. Churn is the new reality and thrown into that, business owners are having to teach staff how to get the most out of video conferencing software and keep everyone safe on site visits.

To understand where consumers are at in the demand cycle, Universal Media Co conducted a digital survey of people with projects at the end of March 2020, when the coronavirus headlines were particularly bad. The results were married with insights gained in face-to-face interviews at the Sydney Home Show to understand who had entered the market and what they were thinking. The results were not only interesting, but hold out some hope for businesses seeking customers.

It is clear that while some customers had become cautious with the bad headlines, others were full steam ahead and apparently oblivious to the serious challenges faced by other householders in the market. The trick for businesses is to find the latter.

Those whose plans were most long-term were least likely to proceed cautiously, and those whose plans were more short-term were more likely to stall them for another day. The home that someone has been planning for a year, and probably won’t be built for another year yet, still has to happen.

There is also evidence to suggest that plans are being made, and demand increasing, for a future time when household disruption can be better managed. Any business that can lock in an order now, even though construction may not start until later, will be able to build a more solid pipeline for the emergence period.

Key Insights from our Home Market Poll

  • Insight #1: Consumers with the money still want to spend It. People who aren’t suddenly dealing with unemployment or underemployment are proceeding with their plans regardless.
  • Insight #2: Home spenders in 2020 look much like home spenders in 2019. Established, suburban, family-orientated — not the fantasy young couple but certainly spending, and certainly a worthwhile market. The only market worth developing, in fact.
  • Insight #3: Available time — the main driver of the new renovation boom. Despite the difficulty of managing the necessary protections, an increasingly home-based workforce is ‘getting around’ to those long-overdue jobs.
  • Insight #4: Preparing for multi-gen living. With an eye on what’s to come, these Gen X and Boomer renovators are preparing space for returning children, for parents to move into, or for whatever else arises in this strange new world.
  • Insight #5: Budgets are modest, locations are suburban. The spenders are in suburban locations and, somewhat surprisingly, around regional centres.
Background to the Universal Media Co Home Project Poll

The Universal Media Co Home Project Polls ran via social and digital media in March and April 2020, receiving responses from 1321 people with home projects. Results were merged and de-duped to reach the final figure. No incentive for answering was given. This poll followed face-to-face discussions that occurred at the Sydney Home Show in March 2020. Universal Media Co commissioned research firm McNair Ingenuity to do a similar poll in 2009 and got a similar result — 77% of respondents saying they would continue with their projects regardless of the headlines, which at the time were about the Global Financial Crisis.

Click here to find more.

About Universal Media Co Home Group

Universal Media Co Home Group collects name and address data for consumers with home projects, and on-sells access to this audience. These databases are nurtured by media/communication products including 11 home magazines, 14 social media pages, 12 eNewsletters, the CompleteHome.com.au Digital Network and the SpecifierSource.com.au Digital Network.

For further information, please contact Commercial Manager Martin White on 0410 627 743 or Publisher Janice Williams 0411 424 582.

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