Home Depot 375

It was a breakout second quarter for Home Depot — radio’s No. 1 advertiser of 2019 based on spot volume — with sales soaring 23.4% to a record-breaking $38.1 billion.

While there are still plenty of uncertainties related to the U.S. economy in the era of COVID-19, this much is abundantly clear: Homebound Americans are devoting more time to home improvements, and that’s good news for companies like Home Depot and chief competitor Lowe’s, as well as big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.

The Atlanta-based DIY chain also said comparable U.S. sales surged 25%, with online sales nearly doubling. Home Depot also said that consumers picked up about 60% of online orders in stores.

The big quarter came despite the chain dropping an extra $1.3 billion on extra pay and benefits year-to-date. On the bottom line, Home Depot posted a profit of $4.33 billion, up nearly 25% from $3.48 billion a year ago.

“As in the preceding quarter, sales to do-it-yourself consumers outpaced those to professional contractors at both retailers,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Lowe’s benefited more from this trend as DIY customers make up a higher portion of its business. Interestingly, sales growth was strong in all U.S. regions for both companies and not correlated with the size of Covid-19 outbreaks, which bodes well for the rest of the year.”

Home Depot aired more than 2.6 million radio spots last year, according to Media Monitors, which tracks advertising in 85 markets. Lowe’s was No. 5 last year with 1.4 million spots. Both companies occupied the same places in the 2018 rankings. Menards, another player in the space, was No. 50 last year with 412,000.

Home Depot and Lowe’s have maintained their standing as top radio advertisers into 2020. For the week of June 29 to July 4, for instance, the two companies occupied the top two spots on the weekly Media Monitors list. In the prior week, Home Depot was No. 1, with Lowe’s coming in at No. 4.

So what, exactly, is driving all the sales action? According to GlobalData Retail, projects primarily fall into three areas.

“First, many are aimed at making home more practical for working and learning there, including projects like shelving and lighting,” according to a MediaPost story. “Next, they are trying to make living spaces more comfortable and cozier. And finally, many are tackling large-scale projects, like building decks and redoing kitchens and bathrooms.”