Pound for pound, it's one of the most valuable reads in home improvement. The Home Improvement Research Institute's (HIRI's) Reference Guide weighs in at 238 10-in.-by-7-in. pages.
The 2013 edition (with a cover price tag of $495, but free for HIRI members) is loaded with the foundation blocks of industry marketing plans — from percent of consumers who bought glue guns as a replacement of an existing product (52%, page 48) to the average price of landscaping and sodding a new house ($6,491, page 210.)
No two people will read the 2013 HIRI Reference Guide the same way, but for what it's worth, here are five stats that seem to jump off the page from an editor's perspective.
1. Total number of retail DIY outlets on the decline
DIY hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards saw a unilateral decline over the past 12 years, with total figures for these categories coming in at 39,390 for 2012 (compared with 42,000 in 2001). Businesses described as DIY lumberyards saw the sharpest drop-off with a decline of 14.47%.
2. Light bulbs rule
Among high-incidence products studied in the "2012 Product Purchase Tracking Study," light bulbs were the clear winner with a purchase incidence of 37.8%. That's a brilliant lead over the runner-up category of nails, screws and anchors, which came in second at 24.5%.
3. Growth is black across the board
Though average annual growth rates were almost unilaterally in the negatives during the recession years of 2007-2011, 2012 numbers (and those projected for 2013-2017) are 100% trending upward. Paint and preservatives, as well as gypsum and specialty boards, had the highest growth rates in 2012.
4. Southern hospitality
Per region, the South occupied the largest share of 2011's home improvement product sales with a total of $119.6 billion out of a national total of $284.9 billion. This is due, in part, to the region's dominant number of occupied housing units, but sales per household still topped those of the Northeast, Midwest and West.
5. Decked out a little less
Among outdoor features in new single-family houses, decks actually saw a decline since 1995, with patios and porches maintaining their steady growth in popularity. Thirty-five percent of new houses had decks in 1995, compared with 25% in 2011. Porches, on the other hand, are a growth area that experienced the most drastic uptick, an increase of 22%.
HIRI is a non-profit member-supported research group. For more information, visit hiri.org.