DIY trend reflects improving lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am

People are moving up the social ladder and want their homes to mirror that fact

WHILE IT MAY BE well established in the west, do-it-yourself (DIY) home furnishing is still a relatively novel concept in China. However, it is fast becoming a trendy lifestyle choice.

The consumer society places emphasis on variety and the sense of individuality of products.

With people in Shanghai becoming ever more exposed to different cultures, they are growing bored of using the same old products as everyone else.

Long known as the mainland's most sophisticated city-dwellers, Shanghai residents are developing a taste for individuality. They want something unique which suits their needs precisely. Thus the concept of DIY is growing in China.

In Shanghai, many new houses are sold fully furnished. Last year, one in every two newly built houses came with a full complement of furniture.

But because of low labour costs in the mainland, DIY superstores are rare.

Chinese prefer to buy their own materials then hire designers and workers to furnish their homes.

Some companies provide one-stop services, giving advice to customers about choosing materials, helping them design and finding workers to bring designs to fruition.

These services are growing increasingly popular.

But with wages increasing across the board in Shanghai, more people want to raise their quality of life.

So, DIY is growing in popularity as an economical and rewarding way to make home improvements. In this environment, DIY has evolved into two concepts - CIY (create-it-yourself) and BIY (buy-it-yourself).

There is a growing market for semi-finished products, which let consumers gain a sense of satisfaction by finishing products and adding unique features.

They can express their creativity without going to the trouble of sourcing materials and designing and making items from scratch.