More than half of home improvers in the US say that credit card or charge-based rewards programmes have a significant effect on their home improvement buying habits, according to the 2003 American Express 'Home Improvement Index'.
On average, the index suggests that home improvement budgets will rise to an average of US$3,796 during 2003 (up 31% from US$2,888 in 2000).
While the majority of home improvers (74%) said they will hunt for bargains to make the most of their budget, many are also reaping the benefits of reward points. One particularly keen rewards shopper said that she had recently cashed in some 50,000 loyalty points toward the purchase of patio furniture.
The index also showed that June is the most popular month for consumers to start their annual home improvement projects (23%), followed closely by May (19%).
With over half (52%) saying that rewards influence their buying decisions, the survey carefully examined consumers' attitudes to reward points, finding that:
- Points tracking: 17% track reward points carefully, and think about how to use them to best effect.
- Card usage: 16% only use a charge or credit card that will earn points and rewards.
- Store selection: 13% go out of their way to shop where a charge or credit card can be used to earn rewards or points. And, without necessarily going out of their way for points, another 24% said they would specifically select a home improvement store (over others in the area) if it gives or accepts reward points, cash rebates, or other incentives.
- Increased spend: 12% tend to spend and charge more in order to accumulate points.
- Perceived value: 22% say it is "very important" or "important" to them to earn rewards or mileage for home improvement purchases.
- Redemption: 21% said they want to use their rewards for home improvement materials, including tools. Some 27% also said they had redeemed reward points, frequent flyer miles, or other incentives (such as a cash rebate) in the past year.
The 2003 American Express Home Improvement Index survey was conducted by telephone between February 26th and March 2nd, 2003, as part of an omnibus study, and surveyed 341 heads of households, aged 18 or over, who are planning to carry out some form of home improvement this year.