ATLANTA – When was the last time you saw your neighbor’s new mulched-in boxwoods, felt a jealous pang and decided to take on your own gardening project? If you answered “last week,” you’re far from alone.
The Home Depot commissioned a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Wakefield Research to find out what home improvement projects are on the top of the list this spring. The research also revealed the motivation behind these projects.
• More than half of Americans feel the urge to improve the appearance of their homes when they see their neighbors doing it first. From a landscape refresh with new perennials or an herb garden, to a patio overhaul with the latest grill and patio set, there’s no inspiration quite like competition.
• Millennials are particularly home-conscious and competitive, with 70 percent admitting to feeling this pressure and nearly 50 percent responding to it by completing a home improvement project specifically to outshine their neighbor. They stay on trend with not only the latest in gardening and décor, but also by staying green (and cutting costs) with smart thermostats.
• Parents tend to one-up their neighbors more than non-parents – whether that’s installing a new fence and deck in the backyard or taking their spring cleaning one step further than others in the neighborhood.
• Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to buy new furniture or refresh their décor.
• And, when it comes to how people prefer to one-up neighbors, most went for curb appeal. Eighty-nine percent who tried to outdo a neighbor’s home project did so with a new outdoor project and 62 percent focused on indoor upgrades.
Gardening, yard work and painting take the top spots for outdoor projects that Americans plan to take on this spring. And painting, redecorating, house renovations and replacing flooring round out the roster of top indoor projects.
Reporting stable growth
The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, reported sales of $24.9 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2018, a 4.4 percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2017.
Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 were $2.4 billion compared with net earnings of $2.0 billion in the same period of fiscal 2017.
“We are pleased by the strength of our business despite a slow start to the spring selling season,” CEO Craig Menear said. “Outside of our seasonal business, we had solid results in all markets and categories and are seeing strong momentum in all lines of business during these first few weeks of May. These trends, as well as a favorable housing and macroeconomic backdrop, give us confidence to reaffirm our sales and earnings guidance for fiscal 2018.”
Giving back to veterans
The Home Depot Foundation announced it has reached its goal of investing a quarter of a billion dollars in veteran-related causes by 2020 – two years early.
Since 2011, the foundation’s mission has been to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans, with a focus on serving homeless, combat-wounded and senior veterans. In 2016, due to the growing needs of those who served, the foundation pledged to give $250 million by 2020 to nonprofits serving veterans.
Since 2011, the foundation has enhanced nearly 40,000 veteran homes and facilities in more than 2,500 cities.
Investing in technology
The Home Depot is hiring approximately 1,000 new technology professionals in 2018 at its primary technology centers in Atlanta, Austin and Dallas to support initiatives related to its $11.1 billion three-year strategic investment plan.
In December 2017, the company announced investments related to its store and online shopping experience, supply chain and delivery capabilities, and associate and workforce management systems. Many of these initiatives require advanced software engineering, system engineering, UX design and product management.
“With the rapidly changing retail environment, this is easily one of the most exciting places to work in technology,” said Matt Carey, chief information officer of The Home Depot. “Our team is building some of the most advanced software anywhere to help customers shop whenever, wherever and however they want.”