DIY is no longer the overwhelmingly male preserve most people have assumed it to be. New research carried out by HAI reveals that almost as many women as men enjoy working on DIY projects but that old stereotypes die hard when it comes to the hardware retail trade.
The study, carried out by Empathy Research, found that 49% of women said they really enjoyed doing DIY projects but 57% felt that sales people don’t think they’re knowledgeable on DIY due to their gender.
In comparison, only 57% of men said they really enjoy doing DIY projects. Interestingly, a significantly larger proportion of women (53%) than men (44%) think that DIY projects are a good way to spend time with family and friends.
In addition, the study also found that Irish people spend more than €600 a year on average on hardware or tools.
“The myth of DIY being for men is just that, a myth”, commented Annemarie Harte, HAI CEO. “These research findings indicate that the propensity to carry out and enjoy DIY projects is almost equal across the genders. Furthermore, women clearly enjoy collaborating on projects more than men. There is a missed opportunity for retailers to market and promote to women and they could be losing business as a result. Forty per cent of women respondents said they weren’t taken seriously by sales people when shopping for hardware or tools while only 20% of men felt the same way.”
Women and men also displayed remarkably similar attitudes towards DIY projects. For example, 71% of males and 73% of females turned to Google or YouTube videos for help and advice on projects; 53% of men and 52% of women said they were disappointed when the final result of a project didn’t turn out as polished and professional as anticipated or hoped for; while 40% of men and 38% of women would partake in DIY classes or workshops in their local hardware store if they were available.
“There is a clear opportunity here for hardware stores to meet demand from DIY enthusiasts of both genders”, said Harte. “Classes or workshops in a local shop would offer a valuable community service as well as an opportunity to boost sales”.
The type of projects undertaken were broadly similar with painting and decorating coming out on top as the clear favourite of both sexes. Men were more likely to carry out more physically demanding projects like landscape gardening while women had a leaning towards crafts and upcycling projects.
Twenty-eight per cent of men said they had carried out electrical projects while the figure for women was just 4%. “This probably suggests a knowledge or training gap that could be addressed by classes or workshops”, said Harte.
When it came to skills there was a more traditional gender breakdown with women favouring decorative areas such as painting and wallpapering and men being more likely to either partake in or be interested in acquiring a skill in areas like carpentry, electrical, mechanical or general building work.
There is almost no difference in the behaviour of females and males when it comes to purchasing hardware or tools, with the most likely purchase destination being from big box stores (62%). Local hardware stores are also widely supported, with 6 in 10 (60%) purchasing locally. Discounters like Aldi and Lidl also play a significant role, with almost half (48%) of all adults buying from these stores.
Similarly, the breakdown of products purchased by both genders was almost identical with painting and decorating coming out on top followed by home improvement products, tools and equipment, outdoor maintenance, and lighting and electrical equipment.
“There is an opportunity here for retailers”, Harte noted. “The DIY landscape is very much a female as well as a male preserve and retailers need to adapt to cater for that change.”