Hardware giant Bunnings has long been a key player in the home improvement space but since Woolworths-owned Masters Home Improvement entered the market it has changed things up. Or has it?

The latest figures from Roy Morgan indicate that Masters has been increasing its customer base consistently over the last year with 8 per cent of Australians aged 14-plus having bought something there – up from 3 per cent a year ago. But these number have had little impact on customer numbers for either established rivals – Bunnings and Mitre 10.

According to Norman Morris, Roy Morgan Research industry communications director, visitation rates at Bunnings has remained stable with close to two thirds of the population buying something there annually. This also applies to Mitre 10 where 17 per cent of the population buy something there per year and pay an average five annual visits.

“Since opening nearly two years ago, Masters has almost 30 stores and is now trading in most Australian states. Its association with the reality TV program House Rules would also be boosting its profile. However, its lack of impact on customers at Bunnings and Mitre 10 suggests shoppers have added Masters to their retail repertoire rather than stopped shopping at its competitors,” he said.

“In part this can be understood by examining the type of customers Masters is attracting. For example, Masters shoppers are more likely to have bought/built a new home than typical Bunnings or Mitre 10 customers. Not surprisingly, Masters’ customers are also likely to have redecorated or refurbished their home, purchasing items like curtains and wallpaper.

“With the increased level of competition in the hardware field, it’s no longer just about wheelbarrows, nails and power tools. Masters is appealing to customers who want to change or improve their home décor as well, with a large range of decorating products on offer and even a section dedicated to ‘Ideas & Inspiration’ on their website.”