During the recession years, a link emerged between rampant renovating and economic stagnation. You didn’t have to look too far to figure out why: More Americans were staying put in their homes, making the most of what they had with landscaping projects, kitchen remodels and redecorating sprees.
Now, with the industry poised on the brink of a housing recovery, yesterday’s home improvement trends continue to inform today’s market opportunities. In other words, America has begun the work of digging the skeletons out of its closet.
“People are now beginning to spend more on their own homes, not moving as quickly as they did before,” said Art Noparstak, product marketing manager at Racor Home Storage Products, which serves the burgeoning garage storage market. “Storage and organization has always been a problem, but people are realizing it’s worth it to spend a little money and take a little time [where storage is concerned]. People are also renting more, and when you rent you have smaller spaces.”
That theory is supported by research. A 2013 Freedonia Group study forecasts that U.S. demand for home organization products will grow 4.0% per year, reaching $9.4 billion in 2017.
Furthermore, a 2013 Houzz & Home Survey found that 42% of homeowners are renovating in order to improve storage and efficiency.
And when the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) looked into garage enhancement in its 2013 “Project Decision Study,” it found the top five most common improvements were all storage-related: Added organization area for tools (39%), added wall storage accessories (39%), added metal shelving (32%), added organization area for outdoor power equipment (25%) and added wood shelving (24%).
Retailers hoping to capitalize on this trend may do well to make some extra room on their shelves, but the question isn’t whether they do, but rather how they do it.
For instance, decorative and modular units seem destined to experience the fastest growth — even more so than shelving, according to the Freedonia Group. Meanwhile, garage and closet organization is poised to be the fastest-growing product type by room. If it’s any indication, garage products outpaced those of family rooms in 2012 as the second most popular application of home storage, according to the survey.
Additionally, not all home storage products have the stars aligned for them. According to a 2012 Riedel Marketing Group survey, fewer customers were purchasing storage bags; filing boxes; wall-mounted hooks; and stacking, lidded containers compared with 2011. Growth was concentrated to products like in-drawer organizers, shelves and dressers, and closet shelving systems.
At Racor, the garage storage and organization market is the focus. The company projects this area to grow between 5.5% and 7.5% in compounded annual growth — that’s compared with 3.5% for non-garage storage and organization.
Of course, Americans are notoriously bad at making the most of their garage space — 32% are able to fit one car in their garage, and an additional 25% can fit none, according to Noparstak.
To that end, it seems fair to say that the next couple of years will see a heightened focus on the crossing of T’s and the dotting of I’s, especially in the lower-priority areas of the home.
“8y th3 numb3r5”
4% Annual forecasted growth rate for home organization products through 2017 (Freedonia Group)
25% Americans who can’t fit their cars in the garage (Racor)
42% Homeowners who are renovating with storage in mind (Houzz & Home)