Julie Elrod, business manager for paint at Ace Hardware Corp., took questions from Hardware Retailing about recent research the co-op released. Ace commissioned the survey of 1,300 Americans to see how COVID-19 has impacted consumer interest in paint projects.
Hardware Retailing (HR): Why did Ace conduct the survey?
Julie Elrod (JE): Part of being helpful means understanding more of what customers are struggling with, and how we and our red-vested heroes in Ace stores can aid in solving those challenges. Also, in support of Benjamin Moore paints becoming available at Ace Hardware stores nationwide, we wanted consumers to feel confident in tackling paint projects from start to finish.
HR: Are consumers considering more paint projects during the pandemic?
JE: With so many people confined to their homes and new, perhaps makeshift, offices, we know there’s a lot of desire to improve their space. One in four Americans working from home (27 percent) thinks their home office would benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Most homeowners (59 percent) believe that a fresh coat of paint can provide a calming effect. Two in five homeowners (41 percent) believe that a fresh coat of paint can give a space more energy.
HR: How can retailers use the research to help homeowners overcome hesitation to do home projects?
JE: For so many people, it’s overwhelming to know where to start. More than 40 percent of American homeowners cite feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated as their biggest barriers to home paint projects today.
Plus, 70 percent of Americans have difficulty choosing the color, finish and/or type of paints for their home. That’s why Ace Hardware has tools like ThePaintStudio at AceHardware.com to give people the ability to browse color palettes from Benjamin Moore and Magnolia Home, see project ideas, view tips and tricks and use the color visualizer to view color in their own space, all at a safe distance to ensure they’re staying healthy. Consumers can also access a paint calculator, making sure they’re getting the right amount of paint for their project.
HR: Why is it important for retailers to understand customers’ barriers to buying?
JE: The more retailers understand these barriers, the better they will be able to address those concerns to ultimately win the consumer over, delivering what the consumer needs in a way that works best for them. With 75 percent of people in the U.S. living within 15 minutes of an Ace Hardware store, we are a trusted, local resource embedded in communities across the country.
HR: What are the most important takeaways from the survey results?
JE: It was surprising to see that nearly two thirds (63 percent) of homeowners say that the events of the past two months, including increased use of their residences, have caused added wear and tear to their homes. Subsequently, most American homeowners say the effects of COVID-19 specifically have made them think about home improvement projects that need to be done. The great thing about paint is that, for many, it’s an affordable, effective and easy way to improve a space.