INDUSTRY COMMENT: YEAR IN REVIEW
HELPING PEOPLE THROUGH UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
with numerous favourable comments.
Martin Elliot, Chief Executive, Home Hardware
The majority of our Retail Members have remained open throughout the lockdown period as essential Retailers. The service provided to their local community was certainly well received by consumers
Our various consumer advertising brochures distributed by Royal Mail received a fantastic response this year, grabbing consumers’ attention with sales smashing previous records. It’s a great way of putting our retailers’ shop windows in front of their customers. Our Outdoor Living Catalogue also generated record sales of garden furniture, barbeques and chimineas as people spent more time in their gardens.
Many of our suppliers have
supported us so well during this exceptional trading period despite the challenges they were facing in their own businesses. Overall, it was a great team effort with people helping people through unprecedented times. In terms of supply, we are now all facing the challenges of delays in goods coming from the Far East, together with considerably increased shipping costs as a result of a bottle neck at our UK ports.
In 2021, we expect DIY will continue to be strong and with the three million new gardeners
reported this year, gardening will be a key opportunity for our retailers. It is also anticipated that camping and leisure will be even more popular in 2021, as families try and get away more regularly for short breaks. Last year was a record year for our camping products, despite the campsites not being allowed to open until early July. Hopefully in 2021 there will be less restrictions and a longer season, generating even greater demand. This, combined with consumers hopefully continuing to shop local, should boost sales for our retailers.
RECORD SALES ACROSS ALL DEPARTMENTS
Mike Smith – Head of Field Sales, EFG Housewares
Covid-19 blew in in March and EFG have never really looked back. Whilst the media reported a huge economic shock, our sales remained very strong across all departments, recording record sales across
all departments especially in the DIY, gardening, cleaning and toys and games - this was clearly due to the first national lockdown.
Early in the pandemic the smaller key retailers made a huge difference to our business with many customers, both large and small, returning to EFG almost daily because of the level of stock we hold and the round the clock deliveries we were receiving, most days we had huge queues to enter our Enfield centre. This, coupled with our e-commerce customer, made for remarkably busy days all through the spring and summer.
What was abundantly clear was it was a lovely mix of new, old, and even lapsed customers that came to visit us in either person or online. Sometimes even EFG has had to endure stock availability issues which was and continues to be one of the biggest issues in the market place, with many deliveries arriving to us from all suppliers short of the level we expected, thus leading to some issues with fulfilment. However, at the time of writing we are back to around 92 percent fulfilment, which is below our target but certainly moving the right direction. As we move into 2021 the biggest issue, as we
see it, is the continual notification of price increases from suppliers across all sectors. That coupled with huge increases in the cost of shipping from China, 2021 proves to be a difficult one to forecast and has the potential to be a bumpy ride. All that said, in 2021 we are due to roll out a purpose built industry leading website and stock management system which will allow the customers both new and existing a first class website experience, along with our best in-class customer service. With the promise of a Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon we hope that 2021 is a better year for all.
A WIN-WIN YEAR FOR THE DIY SECTOR
Ricky Johal – Head of Marketing, Communications and Brand, DK Tools
My 2020 vision has steadily deteriorated over the past year whilst staring at my screen and repeating the words, “you’re on mute” every other hour. It has been an extraordinary year
on all fronts and whilst industries such as hospitality, aviation and
14 DIY WEEK DECEMBER 2020
fashion have suffered massively, it’s certainly been a win-win year for the DIY sector. The boom in home improvement became more tangible for some suppliers and retail specialists, as stock levels began dwindling rapidly. DK Tools business was well
prepared for the lockdown in spring and we managed to both sustain operational excellence, as well as optimise the customer experience (CX) throughout the year. Our effective and efficient approach to planning and adding value where it matters, has yielded positive business-to-business (B2B) growth through word-of-mouth recommendations. We also saw a
significant +116% increase in watch time on our YouTube channel, as consumers researched our product tutorials to ease the DIY skills gap. There have been some very interesting insights emerging over the past year, and a +300% increase in searches for ‘how to paint’, is a stand out one! Millennials (24 to 39-year olds) have been at the heart of the DIY boom according to some sources, with 80% claiming they have tackled a home improvement project since March. 70% also claim their home is still work in progress and they look forward to undertaking more DIY tasks. With that in mind, demand from
Millennials will continue to stimulate the home improvement industry as they settle into family life and self- sufficiency becomes second nature. But watch out for the up and coming Generation Z, they are digital natives who trust peer ratings and reviews over any brand related loyalty, and with ecommerce becoming the ‘new normal’, they have the potential to make or break your brand online. Furthermore, by 2025, Millennials and Generation Z will make up 75% of the global workforce, so learn how to communicate with this audience now, because improving the customer experience begins with your employees.
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