2016 Existing Residential Market Opportunities…Big & Real!TomChilders
If you read our newsletters or followed us on social media over the past two weeks, two things were evident. One, the early indicators for outdoor living and sustainable lawn and garden products appear quite favorable in the retail market for 2016. Two, there is a hint of caution in the air for home building.
Let’s dissect and discuss some of the opportunities in this.
If the retail segment, the DIY segment, is jumping on these product categories, so will/are their neighbors, the DIFM’ers – Do It For Me. The key is for you to get your brand, inspiring ideas and messages in front of them…then they hire you!
As for housing starts, it was probably just weather but we don’t mind hyper sensitivity on this issue. None of us want a repeat of the housing bubble! The key point here is to remind you to take a hard look at the large and relatively stable existing residential housing market.
Yes, you have to market to homeowners and nurture them through the sales cycle but it can be high margin and great for your cash flow. Even better, it is easy to target. You know your market and which neighborhoods have what – plant pallet make up (native and/or non-native), outdoor lighting situation, rotors on turf also handling natural beds, spray-heads on all foundational plantings and in odd or narrow spaces. You know so you can easily identify the opportunities. You also know what is selling and trending in your market(s). If not, the below should be of value – the ASLA survey fielded a year ago and the top ten project types with the expected highest consumer demand:
Native plants (85 percent)
Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants (83 percent)
Food/vegetable gardens (79 percent)
Fire pits/fireplaces (78 percent)
Low-maintenance landscapes (78 percent)
Permeable paving (77 percent)
Drip/water-efficient irrigation (74 percent)
Rain gardens (74 percent)
Lighting (72 percent)
Rainwater/graywater harvesting (71 percent)
The mismatch between today’s landscape and yesteryear’s is huge, seismic -10 on the Richter scale. But the real driver is the pressure to convert to sustainable landscaping. It is top of mind with everyone. It’s all over the news, our kids are learning about in school and lecturing us, our neighbors are asking us when we are going to do what they did, and the crazy storms of today are even pushing the issue. Oh, and let’s not forget, it is the right thing to do anyway.
Now let’s talk about how big the opportunity is. There are 74 million owner occupied homes (NHMC, 9/15 update). You can slice and dice the numbers a lot of ways to make them more meaningful but let’s just use this for now. The existing residential market opportunity is huge. As we all marvel about a return to 1 million housing starts, think about a 74 to 1 ratio over new construction. If we really slice and dice, the ratio is probably larger.
What’s more? This market is ripe with good incomes, home equity, and balance sheets. Many of these are people that stayed put and continued to build equity and savings during the recession. Now they are willing and able to make home improvement investments. Again, there is a reason Lowe’s and Home Depot are doing so well…so should you!
Are you looking for profitable growth in ’16? Take a serious at look the existing residential market in your area. No doubt there are good opportunities there but it takes a commitment to marketing, sales and service to succeed. The effort is real but so is the return opportunity…happy marketing & selling!