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Market Insights

The Home Improvement Industry

Annual sales in the home improvement industry reached $394 billion in 2018 and independent retailers are the largest contributors, accounting for more sales than the top three big-box chains combined.

Industry Growth Rate

U.S. Home Improvement Sales

in billions of dollars

The Independent Channel

Independent retailers account for more sales than their big-box competitors because of their size and ability to make quick decisions. They are trusted curators of products and pick products based on their customers’ specific needs. Independents also pride themselves on being knowledgeable about the items they stock, which means they can talk about your products’ benefits.

5 Ways Independent Retailers Stay Competitive


Independent retailers rely on high-touch service, such as product and project knowledge and special store services.


They tailor their product assortments to meet the needs of their particular markets and based on customer request.

Buying Power

They utilize the buying strength of their distributors to offer competitive pricing on products.

Distributor Programs

They use distributor retail programs for assistance in advertising and merchandising.

Variable Pricing

They implement variable pricing practices and they watch prices in their markets to remain competitive.

Source: NRHA Research

Categories Independent Retailers Dominate

Don’t underestimate the power of independent retailers. Here is a breakdown of the market share of independent retailers vs. Home Depot and Lowe’s combined..

Source: Company Reports and NRHA Estimates

Independent Retailers are Planning for Growth

NRHA regularly surveys retailers to learn more about their growth plans.

Results show that a majority of independent retailers are focused on growth, including adding new products, product lines and categories. Implementing a comprehensive marketing program with Hardware Retailing will help you get your brand in front of retailers planning for growth.

Do you plan on adding new product lines in the coming year?

Do you plan on expanding existing product lines in the coming year?

Source: NRHA/Hardware Retailing 2018 Study

Top Growth Categories for Independent Retailers

According to a study recent NRHA study, independent retailers are planning growth in these areas.