Will the Digital DIY Industry Stem the Decline?

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

The British DIY industry’s outlook isn’t too rosy, and the top brands are subsequently cutting back. As competition increases and more people are searching, what will this all mean for PPC?

As industry giant Homebase cut stores and staff, it’s never been more evident that the UK’s DIY market is in a steady, years-long decline. What does this mean for the digital market?

Who will pick up the slack, or is there even any slack to pick up? After looking at the success of Homebase’s app, we think that DIY companies just might have a shot at a digital future – if they play their cards right.

Do It… Someone Else?

According to the Daily Telegraph, the UK’s DIY sector (now worth £7.3 billion) has been in decline since 1999, with the sector shedding 13% of its value per year.

The Telegraph suggests that this is not merely an economic readjustment, but that long term social trends – like the decline in male dependence on and enthusiasm for physical labour – are responsible.

It’s possible, however, that the recession has been making this trend worse than it had to be. As economic growth went into reverse, families had less money to spend on new tools, and instead chose to re-use and make do. Now that the UK economy is finally on surer footing, families should be much more willing to head into a DIY shop or website and spend money.

What Does This Mean for PPC?

These economic and social changes affect multiple PPC conditions for the DIY market. As the market contracts, online brands will be fighting over a shrinking traffic quotient, making the market more competitive and driving up costs.

In a high-cost marketplace, efficiency and planning are paramount – and Adthena’s toolset is proven to provide the intelligence necessary to save money and get results.

Moreover, Homebase is closing a quarter of its brick-and-mortars (according to Sky) and this should drive a number of loyal customers who had previously shopped in person online to fulfill their DIY needs.

Such major shifts in the market should reduce competition somewhat, though it will also create an opportunity for smaller or generic brands. For example, a customer who had been shopping at their local Homebase for years might turn to Google for the tool that they want rather than heading directly to the website.

As such, unless these brands work extra intelligently to regain these customers, they stand to get poached by other companies, large and small, with their fingers on the keywords and a Google Shopping entry.

Homebase App

Homebase, however, has found something of a happy medium with its app – an electronic tool, accessed with a tap of the thumb, that’s exclusive to its brand. The app, released early this year, saw 70,000 people sign up by February 6, according to Retail Gazette.

As such, people are still willing to DIY and go online to get their kit, but now the battle is on two fronts: not just PPC for online stores, but PPC for DIY apps.

Apps are a great asset on hand in this and any other market – real estate on your customer’s home screen makes you a constant brand presence, meaning that the user will stick with you and your products without forcing you to fight your competitors for SERP space in every search. Leverage PPC for your app, and you’ll save marketing money in the long term.

Are Any DIY Companies Thriving?

Screwfix has managed to buck the decline with consistently increasing interest on Google Trends, while other DIY suppliers like Wickes and Homebase have seen their interest fall.

Screwfix seems to have the right digital attitude, getting the app version of its catalogue out there in late 2014. Furthermore, the DIY company reported more than 25% growth in 2013, according to Internet Retailing.

Having already established some pretty serious success, with the right PPC choices, this brand will likely continue to trend against the prevailing market conditions.

To be frank, the overall picture doesn’t look so good right now for the DIY market. But as the economy picks up, and if the brands play it right, they stand to survive in a more healthy market, though a very different market from the one that thrived in the 1990s.

PPC is now like many jobs in the home that used to be DIY: way too complicated and expensive to do alone. Contact us now to join brands new and old that are seeking Adthena’s help to make sense of these tricky marketplaces.

(Main image credit: David Blaine/flickr)

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.