Getting things professionally done may be going out of style. Instead of outsourcing to the "pros" and paying steep prices for "industry-leading expertise," people are starting to purchase products that empower themselves to do more, and are saving tons of money in the process. Whether it be launching a home-based craft business or selling DIY products, it's never been easier to get involved in this industry and exploit its opportunity.
The concept of DIY isn't a new one, but its spreading like wildfire as of late, and subsequently creating new areas for lucrative business implementation. Everything from home improvement projects and cooking recipes to the special glasses people wore to safely view the solar eclipse last week are byproducts of this shift, and companies are capitalizing.
DIY sales in the US have been on a steady incline for some time now, and the trend is forecasted to keep heading in a positive direction. In 2016, domestic DIY sales were $358.2 billion. That figure rose from $308.6 billion in 2013, and is expected to climb up to $422.6 billion by 2020.
According to Karie Engels, Founder and Editor of Basil and Salt Magazine, "There is a growing desire amongst society to become more self-capable and less reliant on others." Her online and print magazine provides its subscribers with new gourmet recipe and travel ideas they can implement on their own. "As mobile apps are empowering people to do more than ever before without needing to outsource, this trend looks to only increase and threaten professional services."
The mainstream DIY consumer is a young professional or from Generation Y, with 52 percent of customers in this sector ranging between the ages 24-44. They are also typically homeowners and have a social media presence. A study found that "35 percent of DIY'ers have started a project or bought a project they originally posted by a brand on social media," allowing companies to easily target customers and market their products.
More than just the money
The increased popularity in DIY products isn't stemming exclusively from a stance of economic responsibility, however. People enjoy empowering themselves, and by investing in DIY products that allow them to do more on their own, they not only pad their wallets, but their self-esteem as well.
"Do it Yourself has transformed from being strictly a financial decision to becoming first and foremost a matter of pride" said David Ickowicz, VP of Durabak, a truck bedliner company that's predicated on the idea of putting the power of vehicle renovation back in the owners' hands.
Additionally, the sense of purpose, value, and experience that comes with DIY involvement has also contributed to its rise in demand and market growth. So, while saving money is still the most prevalent standalone reason that people use DIY products, a combined 58 percent of consumers cite "I enjoy doing this type of project/work" and "It's simple enough to do myself" as the impetus behind their patronage.
The power of community and culture
To further the movement, there is a strong community feel to the DIY world, where people build and share ideas with others in their network. Hometalk is an online resource platform and forum for people to get inspired, ask for advice and share DIY ideas. Its homepage reads: "Browse projects by millions of DIYers like you," and the culture it instills in the DIY community is undeniable.
"It has been clear to us for a while now that while many areas of our lives have been democratized, it is now time for home, garden and DIY in general to shine," said Yaron Ben Shaul, CEO of Hometalk. "Our DIY community is experiencing growth and engagement, the likes of which I have never witnessed in my entire career. The shared economy is here to stay and it manifests itself beautifully in the growing trend of DIY and the creativity it inspires."
Will everything shift to DIY?
For as much impact as the DIY market is stirring up, it can't be integrated everywhere. At least not for now. Legal services and major technology purchases, for example, are beyond the scope and capacity of the average person, so for now, certain industries and markets don't seem to be susceptible to the DIY boom. However, if the DIY community and world of disruption we live in have taught us one thing, it's that no product service, or concept at large is safe from complete reform in the future.
*Nathan Feifel contributed to this article.