Feature, V2I2

Survey Says… Growth!

value of having a shed for a homeowner
An outdoor structure can become one of the most functional spaces on a homeowner’s property.

Consumers are buying more (and bigger) things again.

For example, the National Retail Federation’s 2016 economic forecast projects retail industry sales will grow 3.1 percent, higher than the 10-year average of 2.7 percent.

While consumers are buying more things, their homes are too cramped to store them. As a result, more homeowners are turning to outdoor sheds to store lawn equipment, bicycles, tools, and more.

What’s also true is that clutter negatively affects our brains and our ability to focus and process information. That’s both where outdoor structures come in and a selling point for shed builders. Outdoor buildings are small enough to fit in the backyard and versatile for a variety of uses. That as we know is why their popularity is growing beyond storage to include uses such as gardening centers, outdoor workshops, offices, man caves and she sheds.

The shed market has seen continued growth, with wood buildings accounting for the majority of structures in excess of $500.

Much of this information and more was developed from Shed Industry Trends in the U.S. (2014), first-of-its-kind proprietary research about the U.S. outdoor storage shed market. This trends study consisted of secondary research and primary research sponsored by LP® Building Products and conducted with U.S. consumers by the strategy and insights experts at HFA (Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Inc.).

Sales Opportunities

Of the 2.39 percent of U.S. households that purchase or build a storage shed annually (2.9 million structures), 56 percent of those households spend more than $500 and 39 percent spend more than $1,000 on a shed. The average structure size is 10 feet by 12 feet. Shed sales growth from 2008 to 2013 suggests that sales could reach $800 million annually by 2018.

Shed purchases are almost evenly split in two categories of consumers. The American Housing Survey reports that the market is broken out by do-it-for-me (DIFM) at 47 percent and do-it-yourself (DIY) at 53 percent.

More Market-Potential Insights

Some additional consumer insights gained from the LP trends research include:

  • An increasing number of baby boomers are looking to downsize their homes, so they’ll have less space to store accumulated possessions.
  • The propensity of U.S. households to “clean up and organize” is evident by the proliferation of organization-oriented businesses and the emergence of reality TV shows that feed a national obsession to de-clutter.
  • Outdoor buildings reflect the changing tastes and styles of their owners, and homeowners are increasingly showing off the things that set them apart from the rest, either aesthetically or functionally.
  • A backyard shed can be an escape—a place to keep “stuff” but also a spot physically and emotionally separated from daily living.
  • U.S. consumers strive to make their homes a sanctuary from outside stress and stimulation caused by the onslaught of “stuff.”
  • Men tend to gravitate toward shed toughness and durability while women tend to be drawn to design and style.
  • People in the South and West need storage products because they lack basements, while cold weather is a driver for storage in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • Storage buildings are a cost-effective alternative to long-term rentals of self-storage units.

Guide Consumers to Their Perfect Shed

To capitalize on the growth of storage structures, shed builders should be marketing savvy to connect with homeowners where they are seeking information about home improvement. For example, homeowners readily seek ideas and inspiration on websites such as Houzz and Pinterest, where builders should have a presence.

To help homeowners make smart decisions, shed builders can help them envision their backyard transformation via a storage building purchase. Having photos of installed structures shown in beautiful surroundings on the builder lot and website can be a catalyst for homeowners to buy a shed. Even better for builders whose lots feature structures of varying sizes, styles and designs, the top reason homeowners purchase an outdoor building is that the store (i.e., builder) carries the style the homeowner wants.

wood shed structure for a farm
Wood shed structures have a variety of uses.

Owner Profiles

In shed builder marketing it’s important to appeal to both men and women. While men and women are drawn to storage buildings for different reasons, they both are decision makers and want to understand how storage and organization products will fit their home.

According to Simmons Market Research, as part of a general shed owner profile, the internet has a profound effect on how homeowners consume information and shop, increasing pre-purchase research. They need to have internet access “on the go.” For those reasons and others, shed owners are likely to use social media.

It’s also helpful for shed builders to understand why homeowners are considering home-improvement projects, in order to help provide the best solutions for them. According to a Houzz & Home survey conducted by Houzz, many homeowners want to make their space more functional, while others are looking to improve the look and feel of their space. Still others want to increase their home’s value, and some are accommodating changing lifestyle needs, which could involve aging parents or grown children.

As builders know, once a homeowner has an outdoor structure and sees the value in having it for their specific needs, they realize it would be difficult to live without it.


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