The projected increase in residential construction and remodeling spending is boosting contractors' confidence and causing a shift in the way they do business, according to Boston-based L.E.K. Consulting's  Contractor Behavior Survey. So far, that's caused the frequency at which builders shop at big-box stores to plateau, with the projected near-term decrease in visits supplemented by a shift to increased purchasing through the pro channel. The 650 U.S.-based residential contractors responding to the survey said convenience was the primary reason they shopped at the big boxes this year, whereas a year earlier they listed price as the top factor.

Also among the findings: Thirty-nine percent of contractors said they were taking lower margins on jobs this year, 5% fewer than a year earlier, while a growing number of contractors chose product based on brand and past experience using it—of that group, 72% identified durability as a key purchasing driver, 69% said price, 66% said reputation, 63% said manufacturer guarantees, and 57% named energy efficiency as being among their top beings. View the full results

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