Britons’ spending on DIY jumps 42% since 1996

24th March 2016


Britain’s passion for DIY is stronger than ever as new analysis from credit card provider MBNA shows annual consumer spending by its customers on home improvement products has jumped 42% since 1996.

The spring bank holiday weekend is the busiest times of the year for DIY enthusiasts and overall the study found that Britons are spending £211 per year on DIY.

Men continue to account for the majority of DIY-related purchases with 69% of all transactions and each spending an average of £267 in 2015. Women spent just £120 on DIY in 2015, a decrease of 6% over the past two decades.

The report also revealed that 45 – 60 year olds are the keenest home improvers, making 4.8% of their total purchases on DIY and spending an average of £240 on DIY each year.

Conversely, the under 30s spent only 2.8% of their annual budget on DIY – a mere £108 per year. This sum has actually decreased by 32% since 1996.

These latest figures from MBNA support trends identified by the UK Cards Association which show the most popular time of year for buying DIY materials is typically between mid-April and late June. The research also found that the average DIY transaction size progressively decreases during the course of the year, by 7% over the year as a whole. This trend could be due to people seeking to take advantage of sales, which often occur at the start of the year, picking up the more expensive items between January and May. Transaction sizes then fall as the year progresses.

What’s been driving DIY spending trends?

The MBNA research showed that patterns in DIY spending tend to unsurprisingly follow the numbers of people moving home. Data from HM Revenue & Customs shows there were over 1.2m homes sold in 1996, reaching a peak of almost 1.8m changing hands in 2004.

But housing sales almost halved with the advent of the financial crisis from 1.4m in 2007 to just 0.8m in 2008.

This resulted in a slowdown in growth of DIY spending, which saw an uncharacteristically low 1% increase between 2007 and 2008. But since 2008, property sales have increased by 39%, hitting 1.1m across the UK in 2015. By contrast, spending on DIY has seen growth of 57% over the same period.

Commenting on the data, Alan North, director of credit and analytics at MBNA, said: “Movements in DIY spending over the past 20 years have been driven by a range of factors including economic growth, rising incomes, online shopping, special offers and, of course, the numbers of people moving home. Moving home is a clear prompt for undertaking DIY tasks, whilst dips in property transactions cause a similar dip in DIY spending.

“However, the fact that DIY spending as a whole has increased by 42% in the last 20 years despite an 11% fall in property transactions shows that many people are choosing to spend more money on improving their home rather than moving to a new one.”

“Innovation and new technology have also made it easier for us to ‘do it ourselves’. Innovation will continue to drive demand in the DIY market. Popular DIY items have changed markedly over the years, driven in part by the advent of new technology and web functionality. Today’s hits include Wi-Fi-enabled alarms, digital laser measuring devices and LED lighting, items that did not exist back in 1996.”

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