The DIY market has gained a foothold in China’s biggest cities

April 23, 2009. Since reaching RMB 195 billion in 2004, the DIY home furnishings market in China has been growing at double-digit rates and is expected to do so until 2010. The main pockets of this growth have centred on Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Zhejiang and Tianjin, where residents tend spend about 5% of their income on housing and decoration, the highest percentage nation-wide.

This has been driven partly for the demand for “˜soft decoration’. City dwellers are more likely to change living places and to spend more on movable soft decoration, such as high-quality furniture, handcrafted articles, collectibles etc. Younger consumers are also increasingly living away from home, and are more likely to choose multifunctional, lightweight, low cost furniture for themselves. Installing one’s own kitchen and bathroom fittings is considered higher in priority as these are in the most “˜personal’ areas of the home.

However, smaller contractors pose a threat to DIY businesses, as their quality improves and awareness of DIY services remains relatively low. Currently, small contractors still dominate 80% of the home decoration market, and offer greater flexibility compared to DIY stores, which tend to have stricter working hours and schedules. To counter this, DIY stores will need to reach out to local consumers and raise awareness of their services.

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