DIY skills study: The UK’s most admired skills are revealed and ‘digital DIY’ proves more valuable than some traditional talents

Study findings

A nationally representative study of 2,000 UK adults has revealed the DIY skills we value the most as well as the ones we find most impressive. And while traditional DIY is still a highly admired talent, ‘digital DIY’ skills are fast catching up in perceptions of usefulness.

  • Assembling flat-pack furniture is perceived as the UK’s most useful DIY skill in general
  • Fixing a leak is the most impressive skill to have – 37% rated it 10/10 for usefulness
  • Restoring a lost Internet connection is the UK’s most useful ‘digital DIY’ skill and is considered just as useful as being able to install a washing machine and more useful than being able to hang wallpaper
  • Digital DIY is on the rise – the ability to programme and operate a Smart TV is considered more useful than the ability to mount one on the wall
  • Over-55s rate digital DIY higher than any other age group
  • Women value digital DIY skills higher than men

The UK’s most useful DIY skills

Study participants were asked to rate a selection of skills from 0 (not useful) to 10 (most useful). Here’s how the most common traditional and digital DIY skills were ranked.

  1. Assembling flat-pack furniture – 87% usefulness score
  2. Fixing a leak – 85% usefulness score
  3. Putting up a shelf – 84% usefulness score
  4. Hanging blinds – 83% usefulness score
  5. Changing a lock – 82% usefulness score
  6. Fixing a faulty modem/router – 81% usefulness score
  7. Installing a washing machine – 81% usefulness score
  8. Programming and operating a smart TV – 80% usefulness score
  9. Hanging wallpaper – 79% usefulness score
  10. Finding deals and bargains online – 79% usefulness score
  11. Sync contacts to a new smartphone – 76% usefulness score
  12. Back-up data to the cloud – 75% usefulness score
  13. Mounting a TV on the wall – 74% usefulness score
  14. Installing and connecting ‘smart home’ devices – 74% usefulness score
  15. Installing a VPN for anonymous Internet browsing – 70% usefulness score
  16. Digitally touch-up, edit and share photos – 66% usefulness score
  17. Building a basic website – 65% usefulness score

 

Age perceptions of DIY skills

The 18-34 cohort were the group least likely to be impressed by DIY skills in general, both traditional and digital.  Over-55s were most likely to give traditional and digital DIY skills the highest usefulness ranking.

What people think about traditional DIY

How do people perceive the traditional DIY talents?

Assemble flat pack furniture

  • Average usefulness rating – 87%
  • This was the most highly-rated skill of all. 32% of all respondents rated it as 100% useful
  • 38% of over-55s rated it as 100% useful

Fixing a leak

  • Average usefulness rating – 85%
  • Over-55s value this skill most highly with almost half (46%) giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to value this skills as 100% useful. 42% of women gave it top marks vs 32% of men

Putting up a shelf

  • Average usefulness rating – 84%
  • 35-44 year olds least likely to rate this skill highly, with 19% giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Women perceive this skill as more useful than men, 29% vs 25% giving it a 100% rating

Hanging Blinds

  • Average usefulness rating – 83%
  • 26% of 18-24 year olds see this skill as less than 50% useful
  • Women are 47% more likely to perceive it as extremely useful than men

Changing a lock

  • Average usefulness rating – 82%
  • Almost a third (32%) of Northern Ireland residents rate this skill as 100% useful
  • 32-44 year olds are least likely to rate this skill highly

Installing a washing machine

  • Average usefulness rating – 81%
  • Almost a third (33%) of over-55s rate this skill as 100% useful
  • 29% of 18-24 year olds rate this skill as less than 50% useful

Hanging wallpaper

  • Average usefulness rating – 79%
  • 25-34 year olds least likely to give this a 100% usefulness rating, just 17% rated it at the maximum, compared to 32% of over-55s
  • Women perceive this skill as more useful than men, 29% vs 25% giving it a 100% rating

Mounting a TV on the wall

  • Average usefulness rating – 74%
  • 18-24 year olds most likely to perceive this skill not particularly useful. 29% gave it a rating of below 50% usefulness
  • Women perceive this skill as more useful than men, 29% vs 25% giving it a 100% rating

What people think about digital DIY

Here’s what people think about emerging digital odd jobs:

Fix a faulty modem or router to restore lost Internet

  • Average usefulness rating – 81%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group with 28% giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • 28% of women gave this skill a 100% usefulness rating, compared to 19% of men
  • Residents of Wales value this skill higher than anyone else, giving it an 83% usefulness rating

Programme and operate a Smart TV

  • Average usefulness rating – 80%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group giving it an average usefulness rating of 85%
  • 29% gave it a 100% usefulness rating
  • 18-24 year olds gave this skill an average usefulness rating of 72%

Find deals and bargains online

  • Average usefulness rating – 79%
  • This skill is rated most highly by the residents of Northern Ireland
  • Almost a third of residents there (32%) gave it a 100% usefulness rating

Sync contacts to a new smartphone

  • Average usefulness rating – 76%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group with 19% giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Women are more likely than men to perceive this as 100% useful. 20% vs 14%

Back-up important data to the cloud

  • Average usefulness rating – 75%
  • 18-24 are by far the most likely to perceive this skill as highly useful
  • 21% of 18-24s rated it as 100% useful compared to the national average of 16% who gave it that rating

Install and connect ‘smart home’ devices

  • Average usefulness rating – 74%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group with 12% giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Just 3% of 18-24 year olds gave it the same usefulness rating
  • 28% of women gave this skill a 100% usefulness rating, compared to 19% of men
    Residents of Northern Ireland value this skill higher than anyone else, 18% gave it a 100% usefulness rating

Installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

  • Average usefulness rating – 70%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group
  • Residents of Yorkshire have the lowest perception of this skill, which enables people to browse the Internet anonymously and access content not available in their own country, rating it on average 65%
  • 16% of Yorkshire residents gave this skill a 0 rating for usefulness

Digitally touch-up, edit and share photos

  • Average usefulness rating – 66%
  • Over-55s value this more highly than any other age group with 10% giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Residents of Northern Ireland value this skill higher than anyone else, 15% gave it a 100% usefulness rating

Building a basic website

  • Average usefulness rating – 65%
  • 45-54 year olds value this skill most highly with one in ten giving it a 100% usefulness rating
  • Residents of Northern Ireland value this skill higher than anyone else, giving it a 73% usefulness rating

About the study

OnePoll surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults on behalf of Aspect, between 25/06/2019 and 28/05/2019. OnePoll are members of the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research and employ members of the Marketing Research Society.