Press release:
Kingfisher publishes first European Home Report 2012

6 December 2012


Falling back in love with your home
Home is where the heart is, says Kingfisher’s European Home Report

Kingfisher, the home improvement retailer whose businesses include B&Q and Castorama, today unveiled its first European Home Report, a survey of 15,000 householders’ attitudes to home improvement. Covering eight European countries, the report provides unique insight into consumer and home improvement trends.

Key Highlights:

  • 9 out of 10 households across Europe undertake home improvement projects 
  • Home improvement is a bigger priority than holidays 
  • Increasing a property’s value only comes 5th in a list of reasons to carry out home improvement. ‘Refreshing’ the home comes top
  • Internal painting and decorating is the number one home improvement activity
  • 52% of householders plan to live in their home for at least 10 years
  • 35% of respondents say they buy home improvement products online

Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc, commented: “This report provides a unique snapshot of the way Europeans view their homes today. What is clear is that the home really is where the heart is for consumers across Europe. Households are planning to spend the same or more on home improvement in the coming year, but their motivations have changed. The “do it up and sell it on” property ladder approach that was evident in some countries during the economic boom years has moved towards a more emotional emphasis on creating a better home in order to enjoy a better quality of life.”

Home is where the heart is
The survey shows that home improvement is a clear priority for consumers across Europe, ranking ahead of holidays in terms of people’s spending priorities. 9 out of 10 householders say that they undertake some sort of work on their home, with two thirds of households planning to spend the same or more on home improvement in the coming year.

Increasing the value of the home came only fifth in a list of reasons to carry out home improvement behind wanting to refresh the home; wanting to live in a comfortable home; having to adapt due to changing family needs and deciding to improve rather than move. This reflects the economic environment with people increasingly viewing their house as a home, rather than a financial instrument.

More than half (52%) of householders plan to live in their home for at least 10 years, a clear sign of the “improve, don’t move” trend. A decade ago, in the UK at least, we were staring at the magnolia walls of the “Changing Rooms” generation as homeowners aspired to ‘do it up and sell it on’ to climb the property ladder. Now it appears that the emphasis has shifted away from using a house simply to make a profit and towards a desire to create a better home that will provide a better quality of life.

Adapting the Home
Throughout the countries surveyed, householders are adapting their homes for children living with the family longer or to accommodate elderly relatives. They are also responding to changes in technology to make it easier to work from home as well as altering the areas they use for entertaining. The research also suggests that consumers across the continent are putting more emphasis on time spent at home as lifestyles and working patterns change and that they are adapting their accommodation to allow more leisure activities (40%), entertaining (39%) and also working from home (23%). Consumers across most of Europe list their top home improvement activity as internal painting and decorating. Other top choices include renewing home furnishings, followed by upgrading a kitchen or bathroom.

Country differences
National differences are also apparent. The French, for example, have been the keenest DIY-ers in terms of how much they spent on home improvements in the past 12 months, with Poland, the UK & Ireland, Turkey and Germany spending the least. Householders in the UK & Ireland and in Germany are also much more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to improve their gardens, while in Turkey, home security and lighting are of greater importance.

Other key findings of the report include:

Everybody’s doing it

  • Nine out of 10 Europeans are spending money on improving their homes, with nearly three quarters doing the work themselves. 
  • About a third of consumers undertake Do-It-Yourself tasks at least once a month, with one in 10 of these falling into the category of “weekend warriors” who carry out jobs in their homes on a weekly basis.

The internet: part of the toolkit

  • Shopping habits show that the internet is used extensively when undertaking home improvement jobs, but mainly for research, comparing prices and seeking advice, rather than making purchases. 
  • Overall, 35% of respondents said they buy home improvement products online, with the Germans being the most likely to do so (48%) and the French the least (21%).

Eco is going mainstream

  • Making their homes eco-friendly is an important issue for consumers across Europe, with (32%) saying it is “very important” to them. 
  • When asked to identify the best eco-investments for their homes, energy efficient products were the most popular, suggesting that the motivation to save money through lower energy bills is as important as saving the planet, if not more so.

A PDF of the report is available at and on Kingfisher Investor Relations iPad app