By Jill Ralph. Do you know where homeowners go for product information? According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, based in Tampa, Fla., it may not be where you think.

From 1994 to 2002, HIRI's Product Purchase Tracking Study polled established homeowners to determine where, and how, they got their information regarding home-related products. The study concluded that major shifts occurred in 5 of the information sources polled. The trends, as studied over the course of 8 years, show that the steepest decline occurred in the use of home improvement retailers and professionals.

The chart below further illustrates the trends in how consumers gather home product information

For more information about HIRI's Product Purchase Tracking Study, visit The 2003 study may be purchased online starting in July 2003.

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, February 2003

Sources Used for Product Information (Percent of Homeowners Using Each Source)

2002 2000 1998 1996 1994
Mfr./retailer brochure 39.3 35.9 42.7 43.7 43.9
TV/Cable programs 34.3 35.5 33.6 25.4 N/A
H/I Retailers 31.2 32.2 32.3 39.4 41.2
Professionals 26.7 27.8 32.3 39.9 38.1
Online/Internet 18.5 17.5 11.7 N/A N/A

Source: Home Improvement Research Institute