Trends favor leisure market growth

Study predicts demand will reach $7.2 billion in 2013

Consumer lifestyle trends will continue to bring growth to the leisure industry, a new study shows.

U.S. demand for outdoor furniture and grill products (including accessories such as umbrellas, covers, cushions, grilling utensils and patio heaters) will increase 3.9% annually to $7.2 billion in 2013, according to The
Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based research firm.

The market will benefit from growth in the number of households and the increasing popularity of outdoor living. In addition, consumer lifestyle trends such as staycations (spending vacation time at home rather than traveling) and outdoor rooms (using furniture, designs and decorations intended to extend the home’s living space outdoors) will support gains by encouraging consumers to invest in outdoor spaces and trade up to better products.

While many of these trends will remain in place, some retrenchment in consumer spending will slow gains going forward. In addition, continued strong increases in imports, particularly inexpensive products from low-cost countries, will limit value gains.

Both the grill and furniture segments will match the industry’s overall pace, with grill sales supported by demand for more expensive, highly featured grills and furniture sales bolstered by solid gains in metal furniture and cushion and covers. 

Imports have long constituted a significant share of the U.S. outdoor furniture and grill market. Given the double-digit increases for much of the past decade, imports accounted for more than three-fifths of total outdoor furniture and grill demand in 2008.

Much of the growth is due to Chinese suppliers increasing their penetration of the U.S. market. Chinese imports rose fivefold between 1998 and 2008, growing from 14% to 43% of total U.S. demand. While Chinese suppliers have taken significant market share from U.S.-based producers, they have also taken share from other suppliers throughout Asia.

Some of the increase in imports resulted from U.S.-based companies shifting production to China in order to better compete with low-cost imports. Many leading retailers of outdoor furniture and grills obtain at least a share of their private label products from Chinese suppliers -- often on a short-term contract manufacturing basis.  

Outdoor Furniture & Grills (published 12/2009, 329 pages) is available for $4,700 from The Freedonia Group. For more information, visit