NPD Group sees more clicks behind purchases

The Internet is playing a bigger role than ever in home improvement sales, and not just as a research tool, according to research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group. 

“It’s clear the Internet is playing an increasingly important role in the home improvement market,” said Kevin Gilbert, director of The NPD Group.

How much? Online home improvement sales grew 16% between September 2010 and August 2011, according to the group's data. Sales of products previously researched online grew 8% in the same period.

Also, NPD found online sales represented more than 10% of air-powered tool and garage door opener accessory dollars, and nearly 10% of electric stapler/brad nailer and snow thrower/blower sales.

And more than half of garage door openers, air-powered tools and snow blowers/throwers sold were researched online by consumers before purchasing.

“Although consumer reviews rank low among top reasons for purchasing home improvement-related categories, today’s consumer is still looking toward the Web for information to help them decide which product to purchase, and possibly find the best deal," Gilbert said. "As retailers and manufacturers in this industry begin to embrace the Internet more and more as a way to connect with their customers through social media and their own websites, we will see this trend continue to grow."