Contractors go digital, but not social

By Brad Farnsworth 

A recent study conducted by The Farnsworth Group, research and insight specialists for the building material and home improvement industries, found roughly 50% of builders and remodelers purchasing products online.

The kinds of products being purchased online include those that are purchased infrequently, such as hand tools and accessories, and more commodity-oriented products, such as building materials. Currently, less than 20% to 25% of pros are purchasing any specific product category online. Although online is a growing source of products purchased, online purchasing remains relatively small as a percent of total purchases made by builders and remodelers.

Another key finding of the “Pro Communication Study” is that pros are interested in receiving information via multiple mediums, including emails. As with many forms of communication used by the pro, 9 out of 10 primarily want new product information, technical specs and general product information. In addition to product information, given today’s economic environment, pros are also looking for information on any specials, discounts or promotional deals from either manufacturers or suppliers.

While 87% of remodelers and builders use the Internet to look for product information once a week or more, pros are not currently looking to social network sites, in general, for professional purposes. Websites that professionals show interest in using are trade-specific sites. These sites include manufacturer sites, which 61% say they use more today than five years ago, as well as supplier websites. Trade publication sites and public forums of builders, remodelers or other specialty trade groups are also viable online resources. 

These data points represent a few selected tables in the “Pro Communication Study” conducted by The Farnsworth Group in 2012. For more information, email

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