Marketing to Home Improvement Retailers: Snapshot & Survey Results

Home Improvement Retailer Survey SnapshotHome improvement retailers are a specialized channel for many types of construction projects including building materials and supplies, fixtures, construction tools and equipment, and more.

This is part one of a three-part blog series on marketing to home improvement retailers.

Part one will provide a retail snapshot, including the results of a 2011 survey on retail marketing practices conducted by the Construction Marketing Association. Part two will cover home improvement retail merchandising and packaging. Finally, part three will discuss retail line reviews.

Retail Snapshot

Retail home center and home improvement stores have a combined revenue of $132.54 billion; with overall home improvement channel sales totaling $205.9 billion in 2011. (Source: Home Channel News).

The retail home improvement category consists of several segments including big box home centers like The Home Depot and Lowe’s, hardware cooperatives including Ace Hardware and True Value, Lumber and Building Material dealers (LBM’s), mass merchants like Walmart and Sears Holdings, and specialty retailers that sell products such as paint, flooring, and farm goods.

The following chart identifies the largest home improvement retailers in North America by number of stores and earnings in 2011 (Source: Home Channel News).

Retailer Sales ($Mil.) 2011 # Stores 2011
1. Home Depot $70,395 2248
2. Lowe’s $50,200 1749
3. Walmart* $19,400 3868
4. Sears Holdings* $12,200 3510
5. Menards $8,800 263
6. Shermin-Williams $4,780 3450
7. Tractor Supply $4,230 1085
8. ProBuild Holdings $3,300 439
9. Harbor Freight Tools $1,650 380
10. 84 Lumber $1,430 258

*Mass Merchants, like Walmart and Sears Holdings, were not included in past rankings. However, they are included today because the influence of these stores on home improvement is so large. Mass merchants generated $33.12 billion in revenue, or about 16% of overall home improvement channel sales in 2011.

Retail Marketing Practices Survey

The Construction Marketing Association recently conducted a survey on retail marketing practices to shed insight into this important channel.  The following questions were asked:

  • What retail channels do you sell to?
  • What approximate percentage of sales are retail (vs. non-retail)?
  • What types of retail initiatives do you undertake?
  • What types of products do you sell to retail?

And the results….


Home centers/big box home centers were the top retail channel sold to with 70 percent, with hardware cooperatives and ecommerce being the second most with 40 percent.

Percentage of Retail Sales

On average, 53 percent of respondent’s sales are retail. Responses went as high as 100 percent and as low as 15 percent.

Types Retail Initiatives

Merchandising displays, promotions, and proposals/rfps/bids ranked as the top three types of retail initiatives.

Types of Retail Products Sold

Please share this post with others who are interested in learning more about marketing to home improvement retailers.

Read Part 2…..  Marketing To Home Improvement Retailers: Merchandising and Packaging



  1. Jake

    This is a great snapshot of the industry. Hopefully it will continue to get stronger in the next few years.

  2. Diyona Joe

    The Blog on the home improvement retailers were great and it were quit interesting ….


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