Since the early 2000s, we've witnessed a string of disruptive technologies, services, and apps that have shaken up their respective industries.
The hottest of these companies achieved their success by taking things we have always done and modernizing them while democratizing them for the people.
Companies of the sharing economy, like transportation services Uber and Lyft, disrupted the taxi industry, while Airbnb disrupted hotels and hospitality. Social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat disrupted communication. Easily obtainable, inexpensive insurance like Lemonade is currently the home insurance industry. Likewise, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin disrupt traditional banking.
There are numerous other industries that are on the shortlist for disruption, ranging from higher education, travel, and dining to e-commerce and ad tech. Even niche spaces are showing promising signs of disruption, which may very well take place in 2018.
In the field of B2B commerce, Pepperi is disrupting customer relationship management, enabling sales reps to use a mobile platform that allows them to work even when they're out of the office and on the road. And in the ad tech industry, Gummicube is disrupting app marketing, using big data and mobile analytics for ASO to optimize an app's placement in the app store.
And then there are the industries that many of us may not have an accurate scope of impact on, such as the DIY space. This space, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, is begging to be disrupted. According to Statista, the global DIY market value in 2013 was $31.9B, which jumped to $35B in 2015 and then $40.7B in 2017.
In 2018, the global value is projected to reach an impressive $43.7B. Most of these revenues stem from DIY projects that revolve around home decor and improvement.
Why DIY? Why Now?
Baby Boomers are amongst the most significant drivers of spending on home improvement, with Millennials quickly coming in to dominate. A study by the Home Depot indicates that 57% of Millennial renters consider homeownership an important goal, compared with only 38% of Gen Xers.
In the larger metropolitan parts of the US, homeownership tends to be costly because of inflation and gentrification, but that isn't stopping Millennials from making the housing market thrive in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. They're getting around it by seeking, purchasing, and reviving houses that are considered to be "fixer-uppers."
By playing an active role in home decoration and repair on a budget, Millennials are reshaping a core aspect of the DIY industry.
The DIYers of Today
The DIYers of today are very different from the DIYers of yesteryear in terms of motivation and self-sufficiency. Over time, technological advancements and the plethora of available contracting services has made people less able to readily take on hands-on projects, such as building, remodeling, painting, tiling, and upholstering.
With a limited budget and limited resources, DIYers heavily rely on DIY communities on the Internet for tips, tricks, and inspiration to create and decorate the home of their dreams.
The 2010s are seeing a rise in promising DIY communities, each of which stands a good shot at being 'the one that disrupted DIY.' Some of the bigger players in the scene include:
Houzz: Online community of over 40M members that focuses on home improvement, architecture, interior design/decorating, and landscape design. They recently made headlines for their augmented reality app which allows users to select from 500K objects and view how they would look in the room before making the purchase.
Hometalk: DIY community 12M members strong, featuring an active DIY forum and over 100K user-generated tutorials on home and garden projects across 17 categories. Branded video tutorials raked in over 1.2 billion views on Facebook in 2016.
Pinterest: User-generated discovery tool for ideas and inspiration for all types of DIY projects, over 150M members strong. Typically the original source that drives unique traffic to other DIY websites.
Buzzfeed Nifty Home: A collection of viral short-form instructional videos on Facebook demonstrating how to upgrade the home through DIY. Over 4M Facebook users have liked the page.
Although each of these players is in the space, it's safe to say that none of them actually directly compete with one another. For example, users typically discover projects on Pinterest, then get redirected to other sites.
Houzz is excellent at providing inspiration and letting users know what is needed to achieve the look. The Hometalk community advises DIYers of all levels on how to get it done. And Nifty is great for quick projects that could easily be turned into a fun activity for the whole family.
Getting Closer Than Ever
With the demand and enthusiasm that surrounds the DIY space, we can only wonder which company will ultimately reign supreme for one reason or another, and will be the one to go down in the books for having disrupted DIY.
As of now, the DIY industry is still begging for disruption--but it's closer than ever to getting there.