Case Study: Lowe’s Has Natural Affinity with Emerging $2 Trillion Market Segment

AUTHOR:

Chris Stone


Home improvement giant resonates well with Faith Driven Consumers

Tools, paint, building and garden supplies, convenience, customer service and price — these are some of the things consumers look for when shopping at a home improvement store.

loewsBut beyond factors that often differentiate one retailer over another, most consumers gravitate toward the brand that “feels right” – most closely aligns and is compatible with – their core values and worldview.

Based on our research, as a national home improvement chain which has taken a neutral stand on divisive cultural issues, Lowe’s is more likely to resonate deeply with the rapidly emerging and economically powerful Faith Driven Consumer segment than its chief competitor, Home Depot.  This market segment, of 41 million Americans that spends $2 trillion annually, could be a game-changer for Lowe’s.

To the degree that Lowe’s chooses to target, actively welcome, and include this group into its market segmentation mix, it will reap dividends in consumer loyalty, increased market share, and corporate profits.

Marketplace Analysis

The home improvement retail sector struggled during the Great Recession as consumers shelved projects and formerly steady revenue streams from contractors slowed to a trickle.

While The Home Depot is currently king of the home improvement category – and appears to be improving upon its strong 20 percent market share – Lowe’s is the clear runner-up nationally, although struggling to catch up  from its trailing position.

Given this reality, Lowe’s is ripe to inject new vitality into its marketing focus and capitalize on the largely untapped Faith Driven Consumer segment – representing 17 percent of the U.S. adult population – with which it has a strong natural affinity.

Brands that take active steps to develop and employ messaging that resonates with the values of the one-out-of-every-six American adults who are Faith Driven Consumers will be rewarded with an affinity-driven loyalty that competitors will envy.

Lowe’s can “Never Stop Improving” with Faith Driven Consumers

While The Home Depot has taken corporate action that conflicts with Faith Driven Consumers and a biblical worldview, the corporate choices of Lowe’s are more compatible with the segment and a biblical worldview. This lays a sturdy foundation for Lowe’s to successfully employ its slogan – “Never Stop Improving” – with a faith-driven segment that is ready, willing and able to switch to a home improvement brand that respects and welcomes them.

For Faith Driven Consumers, the fact that Lowe’s gives millions of dollars in annual charitable contributions and engages in initiatives that support local communities and public schools matters. They also care that the wholesome advertising of Lowe’s highlights the life stages of marriage, child rearing and retirement.

With even modest adaptations to its messaging strategy – done in ways that remain compatible with other important segments – Lowe’s is poised to effectively convert into long-term customers the key traditional family demographic that is core to the loyal and lucrative Faith Driven Consumer market.

In contrast to traditional and historic American market segments, Faith Driven Consumers today are highly diverse and cut across the divides of race, age, income, gender and geography that define other routinely targeted segments.

However, one group that Faith Driven Consumers are highly differentiated from is the broader Christian market with which they are often associated.  As such, Faith Driven Consumers require distinct messaging in order to be motivated to action.

Significantly, if the 41 million Faith Driven Consumers who spend $2 trillion annually in the United States were their own self-contained economy, they would be the eighth-largest in the world – on par with Brazil, a major economic player by any scale.

If You Welcome Them, They Will Come  

The question before leading retailers in the home improvement market is which will be the first to recognize the value and desirability of the Faith Driven Consumer segment and proactively integrate them into its segmentation strategy?

Reliable research indicates that Lowe’s, over its chief rival Home Depot, has a stronger basis for a natural affinity at the core values level with Faith Driven Consumers.  Given that worldview compatibility is a key tie-breaking differentiator that consumers use to make purchasing decisions, Lowe’s is well-positioned to effectively integrate with Faith Driven Consumers and leverage their economic power into reinvigorated corporate profits and increased market share against competitors.


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