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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: Outdoor Living

By: Sheila Long O’Mara

Winter has been brutal in many parts of the country this year, and people are eager for the big thaw. With sights set toward spring and dinners al fresco, consumers are eager to turn toward decorating and using their outdoor spaces.

More than 55 percent use their outdoor furniture at weekly. Eighteen percent said they use their casual furniture daily, while another 18 percent said they enjoy their purchase two to three times a month.

That’s good news for furniture retailers adding outdoor furniture vignettes to showroom floors for the category’s big selling season. Of course, the category is a bit regional and dealers throughout Florida and Southern California sell outdoor furnishings year round.

No matter the case, it’s always a smart strategy to know where the consumer stands on a certain matter or category.

According to a Home Furnishings Business survey of 146 consumers who had recently bought outdoor furniture, retailers should be aware that most of the shoppers opted to spend their money on the category with either a home improvement store (37.7 percent) like Lowe’s or The Home Depot, or at a mass merchant (23 percent) like Walmart or Target. Only 6.6 percent—the lowest percentage—bought from a traditional furniture store, and another 19.7 percent turned to an outdoor furniture specialty retailer.

Consumers did not leave traditional furniture retailers out of the research stage of the shopping process; they just opted to buy elsewhere for whatever reason. Nearly 14 percent (13.8 percent) said they shopped at a furniture store while considering their purchase.

Furniture retailers are losing traction to alternative channels of distribution for the outdoor category. That 13.8 percent is a significant drop from last year’s survey that showed 21 percent of consumers surveyed shopped with traditional furniture stores while researching outdoor furniture.


Price Matters

When it comes to pricing of outdoor furniture, consumers are a tight-fisted bunch. Nearly 56 percent said they spent less than $500 on their most recent purchase. Another 18 percent spend between $500 and $999; and 9.8 percent opted to spend $1,000 to $1,499.

When compared with the stores from which consumers bought, the prices fall in line with the products found at the mass merchants and the home improvement stores.

When asked about difficulties encountered while shopping for outdoor furniture, slightly more than 20 percent (20.4 percent) said prices were too high. Another 24 percent said they had trouble finding exactly what they wanted from a design point. Fourteen percent said the selection in their area stores was too slim.

Now that they’ve bought their outdoor furniture, consumers are in a long-term relationship. More than 39 percent expect it to last between three and five years. Another 26 percent think it will last six to eight years.


Want More?

A more in-depth report on the outdoor category is available for purchase by calling Natalia Hurd at (404) 390-1535 or via e-mail at




Outdoor percentage of 2014 furniture sales


$3.59 Billion

2014 outdoor furniture sales



Outdoor furniture 2014 sales growth


Retailers Say...

Lloyd Flanders Contempo

“It’s a very transitional contemporary setting with a very sophisticated look and feel. It’s very livable and a better quality. Eighty percent of the Contempo we sell is special order.” The sofa retails at $2,699.

Tom Lias

Gorman’s Furniture

Novi, Mich.

Agio’s Heritage Collection

“The customer sees a lot of value for the price in this collection on its solid construction, and the fabric selection lends itself to be used in many different environments.”

Sofa retails at $999.

Nathan Smith

Miskelly Furniture

Jackson, Miss.

Monterey from Castelle by Pride Family Brands

“The collection offers simple lines with a beautiful old world feel with the sand-cast detailing on the arms and back with cast rivets added to the backs of the deep seating pieces. Customization is a large part of the success of the collection.” Retail depends on fabric selection.

Debbie Allison

Furnitureland South

Jamestown, N.C.

Agio’s Haywood 5-Piece Fire Pit

“The chairs are comfortable, and everyone is loving fire pits right now. At $1,499.99, it is a terrific value.”

Jeff Child

RC Willey

Salt Lake City


Manufacturers Say...

Flight by Brown Jordan

Transitional styling gives Brown Jordan’s Flight an abundance of versatility. It is available in both sling and woven options with dining table tops available in glass or aluminum.

Amari by Janus et Cie

The lounge chair is available in a high- and low-back design and a variety of finishes. The chair’s sweeping curves complement a variety of décors, create a comfortable seat and work indoors and out.


Cassley by Klaussner Outdoor

Crafted of polyethylene over a powder-coated aluminum frame, the collection feature Klaussner’s drain-through cushion construction for ease of care.

Island Estate for Tommy Bahama by Lexington Home Brands

The hexagonal Island Estate fire pit serves as a focal point for an intimate seating arrangement of high-back wing chairs. Upholstered seating offers full customization, including trims and custom fabrics for a designer look.

Barcelona by Summer Classics

Outdoor furniture with indoor appeal, this lounge chair is crafted with weather-resistant outdoor materials including Sunbrella fabric and welded aluminum. The collection offers a number of cushion options.

Adele by Walker Edison

The four-piece woven rattan conversation set is welcoming in a classic warm mocha finish teamed with plush, tufted-back cushions. Set includes two chairs, loveseat and cocktail table.


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