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Cinde W. Ingram

What consumers want

Casually Speaking

Everyone keeps talking about today’s economic changes creating a whole new world where year-over-year numbers are meaningless. While accountants are scratching their heads, they probably are sitting on a chair at a desk. So numbers may change but everyday life goes on.

Needs and wants continue. Whether you’re sitting or standing as you read this, I hope you will take the opportunity to find out what consumers say they want.

We have responses from nearly 13,000 people who answered our exclusive new Outdoor Spaces survey, conducted in cooperation with HGTV. When we asked whether they are spending more time taking a “staycation” at home rather than a vacation away, the answers were overwhelmingly in favor of home. More than a fourth had made improvements to their outdoor spaces recently. Of the ones who hadn’t made that investment yet, more than half planned to soon.

While only 5% currently have a home resort, another 13% said they were in the process of creating an outdoor area as a comfortable living space for relaxing or entertaining and almost 80% said they want to. If you’re selling outdoor lighting, outdoor dining sets or lounge chairs, you may find encouragement through the high percentages of consumers who place those products at the top of their must-have lists.

Nearly nine out of 10 consumers said they use their favorite outdoor living space once a week or more to read or relax. Nearly 80% of them grill out at least once a week. If you’re not sure women are buying and using grills, take a look at Donna Myers’ column for an update on why you should be reaching that consumer. She’s the one making most purchasing decisions. And that’s something the home furnishings industry has known for decades.

While this year’s Design Excellence Awards contest drew less than a record number of entries, about 100 new designs are entered. The fact that so many casual furnishings makers continue to invest in research and product development through the economic downturn shows confidence our industry can provide what consumers want.

Feedback? Send your comments to:
Cinde W. Ingram, Casual Living Editor-In-Chief
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409

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