Time to Start That To-Do List?

The number of U.S. consumers shopping at home improvement stores has decreased by six percentage points over the past two years. In January 2008, 62% of American adults had shopped at a home improvement store at least once in the previous four weeks. In January of this year, that number had fallen to a two year low, dropping to just 56%.

But things may look better than they seem at a first glance. A year-over-year comparison shows that by the end of Q1 2010, the percent of consumers shopping at home improvement stores had climbed back up to 60%, which is equal to the level observed at the end of Q1 2008. We are soon to see how that translates in terms of actual sales, as Home Depot, one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers, will release its quarterly results on May 18th.

Second quarter results will be even more telling, as May is usually the biggest month in terms of sales for this category. Indeed, the percentage of U.S. consumers shopping at home improvement stores hit its highest levels over the past two years during the second quarter: 67% the week of May 12, 2008 and 66% the weeks of May 18 and June 1, 2009. In the coming weeks, we will determine if home improvement retailers are able to make a comeback or if the recession will continue putting pressure on this sector of the economy.