Home Depot vs. Lowe's: Who's the Home Improvement Foot Traffic Winner?

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You may have heard the buzzword ‘nesting’ bandied about during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether due to an increase in anxiety regarding public ventures, or the seemingly en masse transition to a remote work model, 2021 found many American families shuttered at home. 

Big box home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot saw growth throughout 2020, with many DIY projects and renovations keeping Americans occupied during restless times. 

Despite the hardships many industries and businesses suffered over the course of the pandemic, a surge in the value of real estate and the supply chain shortage of new building materials significantly impacted traffic to local retail stores and national retailers in the home improvement and construction industries. 

The home renovation boom continued throughout 2021, but how did foot traffic and store visitation numbers for these retailers hold up during the pandemic? Our Tableau workbooks look into data sets regarding Home Improvement Visitation and Home Improvement Visit Length to uncover trends behind remarkable industry growth.

Home improvement visitation trends

Industry stalwarts Home Depot and Lowe’s saw the greatest foot traffic totals in 2021. Let’s examine the data to learn more about how these big box retailers fared throughout the year: 

  • The Home Depot was number one in terms of total visitation numbers. Over the course of the year, 756,181,234 individual visits were registered to Home Depot retail locations in America. Peak traffic occurred between March and May, with over 20,000 visits during each of those months. 
  • Lowe’s was the next closest in terms of total visitation numbers, with 619,307,865 total annual visits. Like The Home Depot, the March-to-May period saw the heaviest traffic, with over 15,000 unique visitations in each of those months. 

The average visit duration for the top retailers was roughly 25 minutes over the course of the year, with July showing the longest average stay by shoppers.

The 2021 real estate boom impacts traffic

The data highlights commonality between The Home Depot and Lowe’s, the top big box retailers in the U.S. in terms of unique visitations. Homeowners were keen to take advantage of a pandemic real estate boom that saw the value of homes increase dramatically in 2021.

From the West Coast (Nevada, California) to the East Coast (Georgia, Florida) the increase in home prices correlated with states that exceeded the average 25 min visit length, while states with smaller increases saw customers spend less time in-store.

The percentage increase in home value and the corresponding store visitation time can be seen most clearly in the following states:

  • Nevada: 38% 49 mins
  • California: 28% 47 mins
  • Georgia: 26%, 39 mins
  • Oklahoma: 11%, 32 mins

Home visitation length trends

Big box retailers like The Home Depot and Lowe’s may have enjoyed the highest foot traffic totals over 2021, but it was MSC Industrial Supply that came away as the retailer with the greatest customer engagement. Boasting an average visitation time of 200 minutes in July, the industrial hardware and goods supplier saw 1,734,575 annual visits and averaged 400,000 visits in the time between March and July, with stays higher than an hour and a half during the timeframe.

Similarly, BMC Building Materials and Construction saw peak visitation numbers in the period between March and May with over 60,000 visits and an average visit of 150 mins per visit. 

Supply chain shortages have contractors searching for solutions

The data collected from Unacast’s Home Improvement Visit Length workbook proves that, in tandem with the homeowning nester’s recommitment to drive surging property values through DIY and renovation projects, builders and manufacturers scrambled amidst pandemic-high supply chain shortages to find the needed materials.

May 2021 saw an overall 95% shortage in appliance availability, with framing lumber coming in second with a 94% shortage. This timeframe is consistent with the peak traffic to building suppliers BMC and MSC as they hosted frantic contractors searching for any available building materials.

Unacast’s Tableau workbooks provide data insight from a variety of viewpoints with the click of a button. To learn more about how Unacast can provide trusted location data platform solutions for your business, visit our website or contact us today!


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