From mask-making to bread-baking to tinkering around the house, Aussie’s have been doing-it-themselves during COVID-19. For many of us, the pandemic was the push we needed to take on our very first DIY project. All of this newfound interest had us thinking: who is this newbie DIYer? We did some digging and found a fresh face behind the craze. Hint: she looks nothing like Scott Cam.
If you’re a seasoned DIY pro, then you may have already spotted the newbie DIYer. This handy(wo)man has been popping up in socially-distanced Bunnings lines and been seen eagerly wandering the aisles of big-box home improvement stores of late. Our intuition was there, but we set out to confirm it with Course Corrector – our own research initiative which aggregates first-party survey, search and social sentiment data. It’s safe to say, our theory has been validated.
Among the newbie DIYers, 67% are woman. More than half (53%) are under the age of 34 and, surprisingly, 27% are between the ages of 18-24. Younger than you expected? We thought so, too. Among females specifically, a quarter (25%) are single compared to 44% married or living with their partner, and a whopping 60% don’t have children. What’s more, 64% are already planning their next project. Let that settle in for a minute.
You could argue that DIY was already on an upward trajectory, following a similar course to the upcycle movement in fashion, but COVID-19 was like a shot in the arm for the industry. The mix of imposed isolation and spare time was an impeccable scenario, forcing us to focus on all the projects we’d put off, but now had time to address.
When we asked the female newbie what made them aware of their first DIY project, they said it was on their to-do list and COVID-19 meant they had the time (26%), they had wanted to fix something broken (25%) or they were bored (23%). Interestingly, boredom was the primary influence (33%) for women aged 34 years or younger.
From Course Corrector we know that 53% of the female newbie segment aged 18-34 years have had their income affected by COVID-19, so you would assume financial nervousness was also a contributing factor. Still, when describing why they chose to do the project themselves and not outsource the work, money didn’t appear to be the primary motive. For those aged 18-34 years, only 19% said they took on a DIY project because money was tight. Almost half (40%), however, did it because they enjoyed it and considered it a hobby.
Boredom, more time and less money seem like self-evident motives given the effects of COVID-19, but why home improvements and not puzzles? It could be that puzzles aren’t as cool to share. Travel influencers, like Haylsa and Kyle, who’d normally show off their holidays on YouTube have pivoted to sharing home office and apartment tour vlogs. Similarly, influencer, podcaster, entrepreneur and DJ Lillian Ahenkan (aka Flex Mami) has been upcycling old furniture and sharing the results on Instagram with her 100,000+ fans in place of club pics and event performances.
And we are here for it. After the restrictions were announced, our total time spent engaging in house and garden content online increased by 120%, with the most notable increase in the 25-39 year old group (139%). Like their favourite influencers, this group are also 65% more likely to share their home decoration ideas online with their own networks, finding gratification in the process.
We know that young women in particular are DIYing as a creative outlet and to cure boredom, so brands will need to go beyond facilitating with tools and instructions to providing inspiration, ideas and comprehensive how-tos. And, to make these accessible to your new audience, you’ll need to hang out where they do. YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok and Facebook Groups are where a large proportion (63%) of this female newbie segment find their inspo and info for DIY projects, or a colossal 73% for women aged 18-34 years.
If your own audience on these channels is relatively small, then influencer collaborations could widen the net. And, rather than cheesy paid sponsorships, make it interesting.
For example, you could gamify the partnership by challenging influencers to out-DIY each other (product cameo included, of course) and ask the user to get involved, too, pitting the average joe against @influencer. Or partner with the platform to run paid adverts of influencer-hosted how-to videos.
The message for brands: build it and she will come. Others surely will be when her slate is clean with no strong affinity for any particular brands or products. Miss the opportunity and you’ll almost certainly miss out.
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