UK consumers take rising living costs 'into their own hands'

B&Q, the UK's largest home improvement and garden centre retailer, has experienced a significant increase in customer demand for its practical, home improvement services and apps. With the average increase in the cost of UK living set to hit 5%, and with large hikes in energy tariffs expected in Autumn, it seems consumers are looking to manage their ‘household' inflation by seeking to do more around the home themselves.

In the last month, the retailer has experienced an increased up-take of its You Can Do It DIY classes, hands-on workshops which include expert advice on energy saving and lessons in fixing plumbing problems. Last week, bookings for the classes experienced an uplift of 65 percent and a 184 percent increase the week before with the most popular classes including those on plumbing and patch-plastering. Despite only being currently run in just 15 of its UK stores, B&Q has seen almost 11,000 consumers attend its DIY classes since it launched them earlier this year. With a number of classes costing as little as £10 a small outlay can help consumers save on hefty tradesmen call-out charges for problems they could fix themselves.

Alongside its You Can Do It centre classes, B&Q also runs a Job Done! home improvement programme in UK schools which builds DIY knowledge for children as young as five. The initiative has experienced a comparable increase in demand with over 1,150 schools signing up in the last 3 months alone. It appears parents' austerity in the home is rubbing off on their children and schools are keen to give young people the chance to learn practical and self-sufficient skills. Due to the high level of demand for the You Can Do It programme, B&Q is also rolling out a new programme of kids' classes for October half term.

This DIY trend is also mirrored by online customer activity as customers are downloading more ‘How To' guides than ever and its iPhone app is being downloaded by around 3,000 people a month. ‘How to' download figures since the start of July back up the fact that customers are most interested in researching practical skills that could save them money. By far the most popular download in the last few months has been the "Fix Plumbing Problems" ‘How To' guide with 10,192 downloads. Next popular was the "Deal with Plumbing Emergencies" ‘How To' with downloads of 3,004.

Katherine Paterson, B&Q's Marketing Director says; "An increase in interest in practical DIY skills underlines further the pressure customers are currently under in term of managing their day to day living costs. Cost conscious home improvers are taking the savvier options realising that saving money and learning a new skill are what's required to meet today's market forces. Making, doing, mending and saving money is what our DIY classes are all about. We are here to help."

N.B. The information contained in this story is provided by the supplier and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of

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