Consumers aren’t leaving home as often during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are flocking to the mobile apps of brands focused on improving their living spaces. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that first-time installs of the top home improvement brand apps in the United States between March and September 2020 doubled year-over-year, climbing 103 percent, while their monthly active users grew 35 percent for the same period.
Stay-At-Home Orders Spark Improve-Your-Home Interest
Our analysis of the top home improvement brand apps Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards showed that their installs across U.S. app stores began climbing in March. First-time downloads of these apps peaked in April, collectively reaching 1.5 million installs. This figure represents 184 percent growth from January 2020 and is also a record for the most monthly installs the cohort has seen. Additionally, the doubling of installs these apps witnessed following widespread enactment of stay-at-home orders across the U.S. is substantially greater than the modest 13 percent increase they saw between the same periods in 2018 and 2019.
Although installs of these apps have declined month-over-month since April, they are still up when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In September, first-time downloads of the top home improvement apps were up 78 percent Y/Y and 65 percent when compared to February. Installs grew just 12 percent Y/Y in September 2019, and were up only 18 percent from February that year.
In terms of how consumers are engaging with these apps, monthly active users for the cohort have grown each month since the beginning of 2020. In September, their usage was 47 percent greater than January of this year and up 49 percent Y/Y.
Time at Home Is Building, But So Is a Recession
As the U.S. grapples with another wave of COVID-19 infections, remote work and distance learning will likely remain the norm for the foreseeable future, resulting in consumers continuing to spend more time in their homes. Combined with the fact that homebuying apps experienced a surge of interest in August, our data indicates consumers may be opting to invest their time and energy into renovation projects—either on existing or new properties.
However, it’s possible that the recession will restrict consumer buying power and we will see adoption of these apps drop back to pre-coronavirus levels in 2021. As the situation continues to develop, it will undoubtedly affect both the home renovation and homebuying sectors. Sensor Tower data will be able to quantify these changes and we will report on any noteworthy developments.
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