Spending on DIY fell 3% last year.

DIY is major turn-off

Published:  31 March, 2010

UK: Evidence of declining DIY sales in favour of do-it-for-me home improvement, puts B&Q's decision to expand its trade-only sales business in context.

B&Q is set to open its TradePoint business in all its UK stores by late summer.

Last week, Kingfisher B&Q announced annual pre-tax profits were up by almost half, but much of that was attributed to running the B&Q sites more efficiently.

A Mintel report into the DIY market found that two million people have stopped DIY home improvements over the past couple of years.

Neil Mason, of Mintel, said: "DIY retailers have been losing share of all retail sales because of the ageing population being less inclined to do DIY, the growth of a do-it-for-me market and a change in attitudes to the home. There has been a perceptible shift in consumer priorities away from the home and towards leisure – particularly holidays and fashion."

Spending on DIY products in specialist superstores stood at £39.4b last year, some 2.7% more than it was in 2005, according to Mintel.

It found that the number of those aged between 45 and 54 who spend their time painting, decorating and doing jobs around the house has halved in two years, dwindling from 30% to 15%.

Although the recession can mean people spending more time at home this has not helped DIY to bounce back, the report said, because it also means fewer people moving home.

"The DIY market has been hard hit by the recession because it has come on top of a declining trend that has been evident for the last five years," Mr Mason said.

There is little short-term prospect of recovery with consumers' incomes likely to be squeezed this year and next while the housing market could well see a second fall.

Other research earlier this month found overall spending on DIY fell 3% last year.

People are turning instead to gardening, particularly grow-your own produce, with vegetable seeds now outselling flowers.

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