This study was conducted by Shedplans.org, operated by Mediage LLC, to examine the impact the coronavirus has had on the interest surrounding backyard sheds, as evidenced by Google search interests.
The increase in interest surrounding backyard sheds and their construction, as evidenced in the uptick in Google search interests, seemed to check several boxes when it came to adapting to life under the pandemic. Backyard sheds offered the opportunity for a dedicated home office space, a playhouse to occupy children, a toolshed for the avid gardener, as well as office sheds or she-sheds for those wanting an escape. In addition, building a backyard shed presented the do-it-yourselfer with a new project, fueling a sense of accomplishment.
As detailed below, worldwide Google searches using queries such as “office sheds”, “DIY sheds”, “shed plans” all trended upward during spring 2020, with peaks in April or May. A similar trend was observed when looking specifically at the U.S. market. COVID-19 cannot be discounted as a major contributing factor to this upward trend.
To conduct this study, Google Trends data was collected between March 1 and May 31 of 2019 and 2020. The data were analyzed and compared. The main conclusions have been summarized and represented graphically in this report. To make sure that the final results of this research are based on conclusive & accurate data, we waited until the Autumn of 2020 for Google Trends to settle. For more information on how Google Trends work read the official FAQ.
The research shows that the average worldwide interest in “DIY sheds” during spring (March through May) 2020 was 1.64 times the interest in spring 2019.
The highest increase compared to the same month the previous year was recorded in April 2020, with the greatest increase in interest seen in the second week. This increase in April coincides with the time when “Stay at Home” orders were issued by many governments across the world including the U.S. and the UK. The interest in sheds also correlates with a recent study showing that global online traffic in the DIY/Home Furnishings industry increased by 15.5% in June 2020 as compared to February 2020, with the global coronavirus pandemic affecting consumer behavior worldwide.
With the growing interest in “DIY Sheds” also came an increase in the interest for “shed plans”. This is no surprise as these two terms basically mean the same and have almost identical user intent.
Accordingly, Google Trends data indicates that the global search interest rate for “shed plans” has grown from 32 to 100 between March to May 2020. The search interest in April 2020 was 1.65 times and in May 2020 was 1.78 times the interest in the same period of the previous year.
Overall, the worldwide interest in “shed builders” expanded 54% in spring 2020 as compared to 2019. Although Google Trends data shows that the interest in March 2020 was actually a little lower than in March 2019, this trend saw an inflection point in the first week of April when the interest grew 27% compared to the same period the previous year. From the data available, the highest search interest was recorded in the second week of May 2020.
Bank of America surveyed 1,054 Americans to examine their attitudes and shopping habits during coronavirus. The results revealed that over 70% have decided to tackle home improvement projects, with more planned for 2021.
Traditionally, sheds are used by Americans to store home and garden tools and equipment, which augments the results of the previous graph that shows a whopping 88% average increase in U.S. interest in “DIY sheds” during April and May 2020 as compared to the same period in the previous year.
With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and partial lockdowns imposed in many U.S. states, April 2020 saw a 110% increase in interest as compared to the previous month. This increase was sustained through May 2020 as well. While some deceleration is expected as people go back to their jobs, COVID-19 could lead to long-term benefits for the home improvement industry if the housing turnover were to increase as studies suggest.
A state-by-state comparison of the interest in shed plans reveals that at least 23 states showed a search interest rate over 45 during Spring 2020, with Alaska, Maine, Montana, Idaho, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, and North Dakota being the top 10 states with interest rates of over 55.
National Association of Home Builders(NAHB) data focused on housing stock aged between 21 and 75 years old and the average cost of home improvements per completed project. The data shows that most of these top states have an average spend of $8,000 to $9,999 per project, whereas southern states like Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and North Carolina have a spend of $6,000 to $7,999 per project. Reduction in project cost through do-it-yourself home Improvements could have well been a driving force for the interest in shed builders and shed plans.
As per the March 2020 study undertaken by Gartner, there has been a massive shift to work-from-home arrangements since the coronavirus outbreak, as 88% of employers have encouraged or required their employees to work from home and 91% of teams in the Asia Pacific region have implemented work-from-home policies.
With more employees working from home worldwide, there has been a growing need for dedicated home office spaces, which is represented in Google Trends data for search interest in “office sheds”. The figures indicate that the rate of increase between 2019 and 2020 has followed a steady upward trend with the third week of May 2020 recording the highest search interest from the available data points. The interest, however, declined slightly thereafter, possibly as people started heading back to the office. On average, the interest from March to May 2020 was 71,6% more as compared to the same period in 2019.
This worldwide trend was also demonstrated in the U.S., where average interest in “office sheds” in Spring 2020 was 58% higher than in Spring 2019. A recent Gallup study also revealed that approximately three in five (59%) U.S. workers have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The interest peaked in the last week of April 2020, possibly as most U.S. states gave “stay-at-home” orders in early April. The average search interest during May 2020 was 79% more as compared to the same time last year.
Google Trends data indicates that Global and U.S. interest in DIY sheds, and shed plans has increased significantly in 2020 as compared to 2019. This increase can be attributed to the fact that, with the advent of the coronavirus, people are now working from home and using their spare time to complete home improvement initiatives through do-it-yourself methods, thus saving on costs. This work-from-home culture has also led to an interest in office sheds as people look to set up comfortable work environments for their short- and mid-term needs. It would be safe to conclude that the DIY shed industry has been positively impacted by the new mindsets, behaviors, and values in the rapidly changing social climate and workplace of today.