Americans love relaxing outdoors and it’s a growing opportunity according to a new white paper, “Outdoor Living: A New Landscape for Consumers,” recently released by Kleber & Associates along with research partner, Standpoint Marketing Research. With spring well underway here in Atlanta, we notice retailers wanting to cash in on the outdoor living trend, but it’s clear they don’t all understand the market and its potential.
To seize the growing market demand, some outdoor products players are expanding inventories and forming interesting alliances. These include well-known direct mail cataloger Smith and Hawken and the company’s recent collaboration with Target stores. California-based retailer Restoration Hardware is also debuting a first ever direct mail catalog devoted only to patio furniture. And many more are following these leads..
What’s driving this multi-billion dollar market?
One recent study completed by the NAHB shows that aging boomers plan to stay in their current homes. This means more disposable financial resources are being dedicated to upgrades to their current property. Many of these upgrades and remodels are focused on expanding outdoor living spaces. As noted in our recent research, the outdoor living marketplace comprises a huge product selection that appeals to a wide geographic and socioeconomic audience and taps into several major lifestyle trends including nesting and the emergence of the “Outdoor Room”.
Where are the opportunities within this booming market?
According to the K&A Outdoor Living Survey, 25 percent of homeowners (over 6 million households) with an income of $75,000 or more, are likely to consider hiring a design team to help create an outdoor living space. The majority of these homeowners would hire a landscape architect, but kitchen and bath designers were requested as well. Since the concept of “outdoor living spaces” is still vague in many homeowners’ minds, the opportunity exists for team collaborations between designers/architects to educate, design, and sell upscale outdoor living projects that appeal to homeowners such as outdoor kitchens.
Who doesn’t like to cook and entertain outdoors? Our white paper shows that many want to do this in style. There will be “an acceleration of activity in cabinetry/storage, cook tops/ranges, refrigerators, sinks and countertops/islands over the next five years. . . we are in the beginning phases of the outdoor kitchen cycle,” as noted in the report.
Most retailers offer a fragmented selection of outdoor products. The research shows that there is an opportunity for retailers to specialize exclusively in the outdoor lifestyle. Pursuing a showroom model combining the elements of outdoor living with that of a traditional garden retail center and including outdoor kitchens, outdoor furniture, and décor with show-and-tell landscaping ideas is the key. We envision something along the lines of what Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s has done for sportsmen. Year-round outdoor lifestyle shopping for a large variety of quality items with help from designers will be important to meet shoppers’ needs.