Survey reveals growing consumer interest in sustainability

A survey commissioned and published by the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has revealed growing consumer interest in sustainability and sustainable supply chains for home improvement work.

The research also revealed increased concerns over rising operating costs, combined with slow economic growth, confusion about apprenticeships, and a lack of government support for KBB business owners.

The research project, which targeted KBB installation businesses and installers and took place across December 2022 and January 2023, consisted of 10 questions covering key topics including the economy, the skills gap and sustainability, and revealed:

  • An increase in consumer interest in sustainable products and services when making home improvement decisions, with 30% of respondents noting an increase in enquiries
  • KBB installation businesses are worried about the future with more than 60% of respondents concerned about the future of their business
  • Businesses operating in the KBB installation sector feel unsupported by government with an overwhelming 80% agreeing that the powers that be are not doing enough to support small businesses like theirs
  • Apprenticeship places are not being created due to confusion and red tape about the process and associated costs

When asked about sustainability and whether the industry does enough to reduce its environmental impact, one third of those surveyed think there is more to be done, whilst almost 50% think the industry is doing enough. Installers continue to have influence with consumers on their purchasing decisions, with 31% of respondents reporting an increase in customers asking for advice when it comes to environmentally friendly solutions. BiKBBI feels it is a clear sign that the industry needs to engage the installer population further on education around sustainable products and practises as they are in a prime position to promote sustainable decisions.

Damian Walters, Chief Executive of BiKBBI, said:

The outputs from the survey clearly demonstrate the areas of focus for the institute in terms of supporting our members. It is encouraging to see the demand for more education on the topic of sustainability and we will now work with our stakeholders to provide tools to assist installation businesses to promote environmentally motivated products, services and practices to consumers.

The scale of concern in the KBB installation sector on the subject of the economy is not surprising, I think it would be remiss of any business to not have some level of concern, considering the challenges we have faced and those that are yet to come. What is surprising is the volume of our existing workforce that would be prepared to leave the industry. Ordinarily, this would be concerning, but whilst we are in the midst of a deep-seated skills gap crisis, this would be catastrophic for the home improvement sector and demonstrates why it is crucial that businesses dependent on an installation function support the work of the BiKBBI in order to drive positive change and build a sustainable future workforce.