Market Focus--Home Workshop Enthusiasts (693 words)
If you've ever lazily flipped through your television channels on a Saturday afternoon, chances are you've happened upon the Emmy Award-winning "This Old House"—television's premier home improvement series. The show, which celebrated its 22nd anniversary season on PBS this year, unlocked America's passion for the home—and its unpredicted popularity proved how many Americans are willing to spend both time and money on various home projects.
Who Are They?
In line with the stereotypical image of this demographic, the average home improvement enthusiast is male, mature and married. He also tends to be middle-class, educated and family-oriented. However, clearly defining a typical home workshop enthusiast may ultimately prove difficult.
For example, subscribers to Workbench Magazine represent both men and women (64 percent and 20 percent, respectively), with an average age of 44 and a median income of $47,800. These subscribers are interested in a hands-on approach to the remodeling and improvement of their homes—from crafting a utility workbench to building bedroom closet organizers.
This Old House magazine subscribers are evenly split genderwise and have a median age of 40. They have an above-average household income of $55,000, enabling them to pursue projects with the goal of creating the ultimate dream house.
In contrast, Klingspor's Woodworking Shop Sanding Catalogue boasts an almost-exclusively male subscriber list—92 percent—and a higher median age of 59. This group is interested in any product or tool—from sanders to polyuethanes—that will aid their woodworking hobby.
Many home workshop enthusiasts live in small towns and rural counties. Limited geographic access to retail outlets for specialized tools, materials and equipment may influence their bias toward catalogs and direct mail, and be one reason for their high rates of response to traditional direct mail offers.
Certain segments of this demographic, however, have proven to be highly wired, and possess an affinity toward electronics and new technology. "As a group, these people are very technical in nature," claims Peter Hogde, marketing manager for Equifax Direct Marketing Solutions. "They might be more inclined than the average person to use computers on a frequent basis." As a result, these home workshop enthusiasts also would be a target for online and e-mail marketing campaigns, adds Hodge.
Predictably, this group is showered with offers for tools, electronics, and specialized equipment, with The Home Depot, Sears and Time Life Home Improvement publications mailers being the most noteworthy and familiar. But marketers of other products should consider tapping into this group as well. "We encourage a lot of non-market mailers to try this niche," says Swift. 'They're a certain demographic that are open to all sorts of offers."
Non-market mailers finding success with this group include:
*Apparel. "Companies offering unisex apparel—such as Lands' End and Eddie Bauer—have done very well with this group," says Swift.
*Insurance. Most home improvement junkies own their own homes, and are also the breadwinners of their families. As such, they have proven highly responsive to life insurance offers.
*Technology. Segments of this group possess demographics that would justify computer and software marketing campaigns. For example, Dell Computers has had success in this market.
*Gardening equipment. It stands to reason that a demographic looking to build things for their home in the name of improvement would also be interested in ways to beautify and maintain their lawn and garden.
Women in the ranks
"In my deeply unscientific observation, it seems you see more and more women in places like Home Depot these days," says Swift. "Maybe it's a result of women feeling more comfortable doing home improvement projects, or maybe they're helping their husbands or partners get the ball rolling."
Indeed, although most home workshop enthusiasts are male, women are quickly filling the ranks. According to a recent market profile report on home workshop enthusiasts conducted by Equifax Direct Marketing Solutions, total home improvement purchases have increased over the past 10 years. Specifically, women's fix-it-yourself purchases leaped from 32 percent in 1997 to 37.6 percent in 1999. What's more, a U.S. Census Bureau study found that more than 57 percent of single women are homeowners—leading them to take an active role in home improvement endeavors.