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From Home Furnishing Business

Whats Sell: Escape To The Great Outdoors

Extend the comforts of the consumer’s home to the great outdoors. With a growing number of manufacturers adding the outdoor category to their product lineup, there are more options than ever to add durable, innovative pieces to your sales floor. And these days, it’s much more than just outdoor seating.

Though the growth of outdoor furniture has slowed from the avalanche of sales in the first two quarters of 2018, don’t be disheartened - it has grown 2.5% year to date - in line with overall furniture sales as we come into the category’s prime purchasing season.

According to Rory Rehmert, senior VP of sales for Castelle, “The importance of outdoor living nationwide continues to expand year after year. The options for outdoor living areas including furnishings and accessories subsequently continues to grow. This growth is exhibited in the fact that outdoor living areas are being included in a greater percentage of new home constructions than ever before. As an extension of the home, outdoor areas also are considered the largest room in the home; often encompassing multiple rooms in one including kitchens, dining and lounge areas. With this, for retailers, the furnishings for the outdoor room can often result in a much higher ticket than that of an interior project.”

And research proves he’s right! Based on a FurnitureCore, Inc. industry model developed by Impact Consulting Services, parent company to Home Furnishings Business, of consumers polled on why they made their most recent outdoor purchase, 21.05% added a new outdoor area to an existing home, and 19.30% moved to a new home with an outdoor area. 35.09% of those polled were simply replacing old, worn, or outdated outdoor furniture and 9.82% did so to add to existing outdoor furniture.

The same consumers reported a high usage of their outdoor spaces, proving the area to be a true extension of the home. 35.09% of consumers report using these spaces daily! Another 45.61% utilize the space on a weekly basis, followed by 2-3 times per month at 14.04%, and less than once a month at 5.26%.

Consumer confidence in product durability is high based on the same FurnitureCore study. When asked how long shoppers plan to use their outdoor furniture, a surprising 36.84% reported plans to utilize products for 8 years or more. This expectation is made possible by key product innovations in performance fabrics and simulated wood looks.

Take Polywood for example, whose story began 30 years ago when the flood of plastics became problematic. “From the recycled milk jug, the first Adirondack was born using genuine Polywood lumber,” states Lindsay Schleis, VP of business development. “We manufacture all categories of outdoor furniture, from dining to deep seating, with the Adirondack chair being most iconic for our company. The durability is second to none with a 20 year residential warranty and 3 year commercial warranty.”

With confidence in quality purchases comes purchases in quantity as consumers are looking to add more than just a couple seats to an outdoor area and call it complete. Instead, they want to curate a room by adding season-extending features with lighting and temperature control aids. When asked which additional pieces they would like to add to their outdoor room, lighting lead the way with consumers at 28.07%, followed by fire pits at 24.56%, and umbrellas at 15.79%. Accessories, a great way to complete any room, were also high on the list at 15.8%. If you have not already, consider adding this category to your merchandise mix on your sales floor. The opportunity to increase your average ticket and close rate is on the horizon.

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