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  • 1. Is the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) DIY sector in decline?The United Kingdom’s DIY market size is difficult to measure up due to the sheer breadth of their ranges.However in the main markets it is estimated to account for around £39 billion, including VAT in 2010(Mintel, 2011). The market itself consists of four main key players. B&Q is currently the dominantretailer in this market, with over 300 stores, and a market share of more than 40% (Mintel, 2011) B&Qis currently ranked as number one DIY retailer (Kingfisher, 2011). Homebase, are another DIY storeranked in second place (Mintel, 2011) with a share of around 16%. It is clear that from this analysis alonehow much of a competitive edge this market is, with the gap from one retailer share to another. Theother two main competitors are Wickes in third place with a 10% market share and then you have Focuswith a market share of 5%.Research problem:There has been much speculation that the ‘Glory days of DIY are over’ and the DIY market in the UK is ona decline. In this report I am aiming to find out what problems the DIY market is facing and causing it todecline by focusing on two aspects. First I will be looking at consumer spending and what people generalideas about DIY are. Secondly I will also be looking at financial information using the four main retailerslooking into their sales figures and profits in order to help me determine how companies are performingoverall, and to see if in fact they are in decline.There are many issues facing the DIY sector and some of which cannot be avoided. Some of the mainissues are things like the economy that the UK is currently in. This has had a direct affect onto themarket as people are have now got less money to spend on things that are unnecessary. Also thehousing market is in decline. However the most severe issue is that fact that more and more people arefalling out of interest with the need to carry out DIY tasks (Mintel, 2011).The purpose of this research is to try and find the actual cause for this decline in DIY sales, whether it befrom customers spending less, or people not liking wanting to carry out DIY tasks.Research question:The main question issues that i will be addressing in this research are: 1. Have people in the UK fallen out of love with DIY projects? 2. Do people plan on carrying out any DIY projects this year? 3. Which of the DIY retailers do people shop in? 4. What do people look for when picking a DIY retailer? 5. What is the main reason that they think the DIY sector may be in decline?
  • 2. Research objectives:My research objectives here are to find out whether UK’sDIY sector’s future is as strong as it has beenpreviously; there are many speculations to suggest that it is currently in decline however sales figurefrom some retailers may suggest otherwise.Some of my other objectives are: To better understand the UK’s DIY sector Examine what people general view is about DIY Examine potential strategies that DIY retailers have implemented or can implement to attract customers Assess the financial statuses of some of the bigger names in the business such as B&Q, Homebase, Wickes and FocusImportance of study:I believe this study is important as there is little research that has been made into this area previously.This study is also important because it will help retailers in the DIY sector have an insight into peopleopinions about DIY and what their general views are. I am hoping that the study will also provide theperson reading a better understand of future innovations to what they can do differently or change inorder to attract more customers. It will also help broadcast a vivid idea on the DIY market and whetherits future seems brighter in years to come, or if it is a market that has reached maturity and is now indecline.Theoretical framework:As there is little or no framework around this topic I have decided to use a report about Credit card use:disposable income and employment status, which was written by Joshua Fogel and Mayer Schneider.Although this study was made in the United States of America, it will help me better understand aboutpeople spending habits as it talks a lot about compulsive buying and the psychological effects ofspending money.The other type or framework that I will use is Mintel. More specifically their DIY Retailing – UK- February2011 report. This report will be very helpful to me as it has a lot of information regarding the currentclimate of the DIY market. It will also help me better understand the types of shoppers that go to DIYstores and also provide me with some insights as to how much people spend on average on DIY yearly.Research methods:In order to help me with this research I will also be using a mixture of both quantitative and qualitativedata. I will gather my information by creating a questionnaire that will help me in gathering the requiredinformation for a sample of around 20 or more people. I will then use this data and represent it using aseries of bar graph or pie charts in order to help me draw up relationships between two variables. By
  • 3. doing so I am hoping it will help me better understand the DIY market and also the thoughts ofconsumers when it comes to DIY.I will also be doing general reading around the subject area in order to gather some secondary data andresearch to help me along with the topic. Whereas the questionnaire research will be more firsthandprimary data.Data collection techniques:I will collect data by creating a questionnaire, otherwise known as a survey strategy. Using this type ofdata collection technique is very popular as it allows people to collate large amounts of standardiseddata making it easier for a person to make a comparison between topics. (Saunders 4th ed, p. 138). Usingthis type of data collection technique will also make it easier for me to gather both quantitative andqualitative data. It will also be convenient for people who will have to fill out the questionnaire as it willbe one simple and easy questionnaire to fill out instead of a long and time consuming interview.Another reason why this technique will be beneficiary is because it is least cost effective and thequickest to implement.This survey will be administered within to friends and family in order to get a cross range of mixedopinions. I will also be conducting this questionnaire at university in order to get a better understand ofa cross range of ages opinions and not only cater it to a biased age group.Data analysis techniques:I will be making use of programs such as Excel to carry out my data analysis. This program will help me increating a more visual image of the data I have collated. This will help me in reaching conclusions aboutcertain findings and also help me in creating a relation between two variables. This program will alsohelp me in better presenting, exploring and describing my findings, in order to help me reachconclusions about the DIY market in the UK.Contribution to the study:I am conducting this study as it is something that is personal to me, I currently work for the DIY sectorand it is of great interest to me to try and examine its future. By completing this study I would hope tohave contributed towards: 1. Understanding more about the DIY retail sector and what its future holds 2. Advise parties on what they can do to improve the DIY sector in attracting customers back to loving DIY 3. Providing people with a written research about this area as there are not many reports on this matter
  • 4. Project plan: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11ProposalResearch problemBackground informationAims for proposalQuestionnaireCollating dataData analysisSummarySubmissions
  • 5. Literature review: Credit card use: disposable income and employment statusSummary:This report is all about a survey which was conducted amongst 301 college students in the United States ofAmerica detailing their credit case use in relation to their disposable income and their employment status. Thereport also goes over other issues concerning consumer spending habits and also provides detailed findings inorder to answer the purpose of the report. The report was created in order to highlight the potential risks peopletake on when using services such as credit cards.Main critiqueI thought that abstract of the report was very well laid out and written, I instantly without reading thefull report managed to find out what is was about, that sample size that they are using as well as thetype of people they are targeting. The abstract also drew me further into the report in the way it waswritten as it provided a little insight into what was discovered, which made me want to read more tofind out the causes of these problems.The introduction in the report was written very well the author managed to use some key words in hisreport and managed to explain them really well using lots of references. I really liked the way he usedstatistics such as, ‘a survey in 2008 on college students in the US found that students have an average of4.6 credit cards, with 50% having four or more cards’ (Sallie Mae, 2009). The use of these facts andfigures also helped me in reaching my own conclusion and helping me better understand the issue andaim of this research.The writer has clearly used adequate overview of literature due to the many sources he has used insidethe text. The use of terminology has also been defined inside texts with references which I found veryuseful as I did not understand some of the things he was trying to explain. It was also clear that a lot ofresearch had gone into the overview of literature as he has not only source information from one placebut various places.I thought that the author’s sample size was adequate for the purpose of his study, only because it wasaimed towards college students. However if it was a research about the general public of America, Iwould of thought that sample size would not have been very reflective of the whole population.It was also very clear as to how the author obtained his information, by explainingthis to the reader,telling them where and when and who took this survey. I thought the way he spoke about how long thesurvey took and at what places it took place was also very nice in order to give an insight to the readeras to what types of environments these surveys where filled out. I think this is important because peopletend to behave to their surroundings, for example if they are rushed then they may answer in a rush to
  • 6. the survey therefore not providing accurate information whereas if the person was in more serious andcalmed space with more time they may be able to provide more accurate information.There was also some reference as to what tools the author used in order to analyse the data. The twoprograms used where ANOVA and SPSS version 17. I like the way in which he stated what each programwas used for and for what type of data they were used for.At first it was not clear what data sets the author was using as you had to read all of the findings untilyou reach the graph and the more visual data after. I thought that this section could have beenimproved by having the visual set of data first for the reader to get a quick glance at the findings beforegoing into the details of the findings. However looking at the tables it was very evident that the moredisposable income a person had the more credit debts they incurred regardless of their employmentstatus. This information was easier for me to read of the table than actually reading the written text.I also liked the fact that there was no unsupported statements in the report, everything was backed upwith a fact and reference. This showed that the author has done their homework and research wellaround this topic ensuring that his research is both strong and meaningful. However one thing which Idid not like was the fact that there was no use of quotations from texts or articles to support some of hisfindings or theories, instead he has solely relied on hard facts and definitions alone.I thought that the research was consistent and answered the relevant problem areas mentioned in theabstract at the beginning. I also thought it fulfilled its role in finding out the use of credit cards withrelations to disposable income and employment status. I thought it was also consistent with themethodology and the data collection techniques used. I thought that the study also showed somethingnew and innovative as people can now view this research and better understand the way in whichcollege students spend their money. It also provides people with an insight as to what students generallyearn and what they use to shop on certain salaries.I thought that the conclusion was very strong, only around a hundred or so words long however ifsummed up the report very well, and providing the reader with two suggestions about credit cards. Itwas very to the point, and provided the reader with perfect summary of the report. Ensuring that nonew information is brought out and that the conclusion was simply reached from everything that wasdiscussed within the report.I thought that the paper was laid out very well, it was very easy on the eye, free flowing and easy tofollow. Subheadings and headings could be easily identified, each separated by paragraphing. There wasalso some use of bold writing to emphasis the beginning of either a new heading or subheading.Conclusion:Overall I thought that this piece of research was very interesting, not only with the information I have foundout but also as to how much of a relevance it could play in my life, knowing what students like me think and spend.It has also fulfilled its purpose in making me think twice about credit card borrowing and the need for impulsivebuying. I also now know the importance of learning about finance and budgeting in order to avoid having to
  • 7. borrow money from credit cards. One of the things which I most loved about the report was the way in which theauthor laid out the abstract, as this was also very to the point and easy to read.