Home-improvement stocks have been shining in the market since March when the pandemic started forcing people to spend much more time at home. Despite small fluctuations in the last month, the shares are expected to keep rising.
The most important company in the sector, Home Depot, has seen its stock jump 81% since March, closing at $275.19 on Sept. 20, while its competitors Wayfair and Target rose 1133% and 63%, respectively. The S&P 500’s Retailing Industry Group Index was up 33.37% in the same period.
“While the environment is challenged, we believe retail’s future is omnichannel, with customers demanding a range of fulfillment options,” wrote Zain Akbari, an equity analyst at Morningstar Research, in a report on Home Depot that had an upbeat view on the stock.
Investors predict that the favorable trend for home-improvement stocks will continue during the pandemic, as people are paying much more attention to their quality of life than before. While some of home-improvement companies in the retail industry are in strong and stable growth, competition among them is likely to be a challenge for them.
Home Depot, Wayfair, and Target have all benefited from the pandemic, not only because people are more willing to improve and renovate their homes, but also because their stores were deemed essential to keep open during the pandemic. So they are strong rivals that are fragmenting the market.
Analysts rate Home Depot highly because of its efficient supply chain, and its flexible distribution network that will help elevate the firm’s brand intangible asset, with faster time to delivery improving the do-it-yourself, or DIY experience, according to research on Home Depot by Jaime M. Katz, senior equity analyst at Morningstar. And the company’s second-quarter revenue was up 23.4%, to $38.1 billion.
“When you have everything shut down and people have a little time on their hands, they start doing stuff like home renovations and repairs that you didn’t have time for before,” said Jason Moser, an analyst for Motley Fool One, in a podcast. “and Home Depot is one of the leaders in the space when it comes to this with, both, a very strong do-it-yourself presence and the pro side of the business as well. This is just a business that’s really doing a lot of things right.”
Faster delivery helps Wayfair stand out in the industry. Quarantine time improved Wayfair’s brand equity with each positive delivery experience, analysts said, but competitors will continue to attempt faster delivery, increasing competition.
With limited growth, intense competition, and rising use of costlier fulfillment methods, Target faces a much more competitive environment. Analysts pointed out Target’s increasing e-commerce and efficiency have brought little improvement in profits.
With uncertainty about when the pandemic will end, analysts say the positive trend in the home-improvement industry will continue for a while, people are still not very confident about going out in public and are willing to stay home until vaccines come out.
Internal competition is still the industry’s biggest challenge. Investors expect to see which competitors provide the best service to meet customers’ demand, including special products and faster deliveries.
“Through this entire pandemic,” said Moser. “the opportunity for a lot of these strong businesses is to come out of this situation even stronger.”