Lowe's Shoppers Have Their Reasons, but Home Depot's Have a Rationale, too

Last Updated Jul 10, 2009 2:20 PM EDT

Yesterday, this blog noted that Lowe's has been catching up with Home Depot as the home improvement store of choice for consumers, and Pamela Goodfellow, senior analyst at BIGresearch, which conducted the June Retail Report cited in the post, detailed why that might be the case.

Location seems to play a role, with Lowe's frequently favoring sites that are higher profile and tied more closely to other retail operations. Goodfellow noted that Home Depot generally has more stores operating in a given market, but Lowe's seems to make up for it by placing stores in locations consumers head to when they are ready to shop. "We are a society of time-crunched multi-taskers," she said. "Lowe's may win out many times because it is more conveniently located."

Additionally, consumers appreciate Home Depot and Lowe's for different reasons, she said:

For instance, Lowe's shoppers placed a higher importance on 'service,' 'in-store experience,' and 'store layout' than their Home Depot counterparts. 'Advertising' and 'home improvement ideas/tips' were rated more highly among Home Depot shoppers than with Lowe's shoppers.
Although it has been slipping in terms of consumers who site it as the place they prefer when shopping home improvement, Home Depot remains the sector leader and, indeed, it and Lowe's combined are cited as preferred retailer by more than half of consumers. Although several reasons may account for that, one seems pretty straightforward, Goodfellow said, noting:

In May, 64.8 percent of consumers cited 'price' as the reason they shop a Home Improvement/Hardware store most often. 'Location' was the second most popular reason. In my experience Home Depot and Lowe's are pretty equitable when it comes to price--there's generally more of a price difference when it comes to comparing these 'big boxes' to a smaller outfit, perhaps like a Menards or ACE.