Feature Article /
Nov 1, 2021

Three Ways Buying Building Products Has Changed

residential construction professionals like builders and remodelers are changing their building material buying habits

Professionals in the construction industry are changing their buying habits, according to data presented in The Farnsworth Group’s latest report. 

The Group’s study, titled “COVID Influence on Building Materials Research Report,” collected information from nearly 800 professional across construction’s occupational spectrum, documenting how and from where those respondents are procuring building materials. It also indicates how those habits have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The report covers an array of topics, from how relationships with suppliers have changed to the product categories in which brand shifts have most occurred. The following are three findings particularly relevant to professionals in the residential construction industry. 


1. Loyalty to Stock 

The basic need for products now seems to outweigh most other considerations in the building material selection process. Case and point, half of all professionals surveyed admitted that they have switched suppliers, or “sales channel,” since the pandemic began as a result of product availability or supply chain issues. 

The report reads, “Pros are buying more from suppliers who are known to have the products and services they want, when they want it.” 

Researchers at The Farnsworth Group further found that not only had professionals switched suppliers to ensure product availability, they’d also switched for the options of delivery and online ordering. Those three factors were more influential than price, according to the data. 

Below are the retailers and suppliers professionals and DIYers alike have been partial to since the pandemic began. 

2. Online Purchasing Preferred

The pandemic has forced building material providers to do business differently, particularly as it relates to online. According to the report, “COVID has accelerated the demand for e-commerce.” 

A prime example of this shift is Amazon, which has seen a 4 percent increase in purchases by pros. Build.come and Wayfair.com have also both experienced similar increases, though less significant in percentage. 

The ability to purchase building products online has become such a popular preference that 65 percent of construction professionals consider it an “expectation from retailers going forward.” 

3. A Willingness to Change Brands

Nearly a third of professionals have tried a new building product brand since COVID began impacting our lives. Moreover, those professionals also admitted to “liking it better.” 

If you break it down by product category, no brand was untouchable. 

“Pros … purchased new brands in almost every product category,” the report reads. “Brands that were once considered mainstays in their categories are no longer safe from brands that are available in the right locations and can be purchased in the ways customers are finding most convenient.”

Still, some categories saw bigger shifts than others. 

For more information, download The Farnsworth Group’s full report


James F. McClister

James F. McClister is the director of digital content at PRODUCTS

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