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  • Cinde Ingram

What consumers want

Durability and comfort are what consumers want most

Durability and comfort are what consumers want most when choosing a casual dining set.

Easy maintenance and best value for the price are also top priorities. Many consumers shop for materials that withstand weather conditions common to their home area or for designs to suit their personal styles.

Expect the trend toward cushions and performance fabrics to continue, according to answers of nearly 14,000 consumers who answered an exclusive online survey. The survey was conducted in April when Casual Living teamed up with Telescope Casual Furniture and cable television’s HGTV. Answers to the first part of the survey are tallied inside this issue. Because of the large sample size, the research data gives a clear view of what consumers want.

While they may not know brand names, consumers say they want their new outdoor chairs, sofas and loveseats to have fabrics that will be mildew-resistant, waterproof and hold up to sun exposure. They want fabrics and furniture that withstand heavy winds common in some parts of the nation.

More than half of the consumers who plan to replace their conversation groups this year or next said they’ll add a fire pit. Manufacturers may have been aware of that, because they are offering more choices of fire pits, whether standalone or inside tables of all shapes and heights.

Those and other outdoor items appeared in Chicago last month at the Casual Furniture Premarket, which provided a sampling of the 2009 products smorgasbord. Another taste of fresh casual lifestyle designs for outdoors, porch and patio uses can be found inside this issue in a record-setting number of Design Excellence Award entries.

Those who missed the premarket will have a chance to “visit” 10 showrooms and see some exciting new products through a virtual tour on But be forewarned. After a virtual visit to these showrooms, you will definitely want to see them in person Sept. 15-18 in Chicago. Don’t miss out on all the new and exciting designs and fabrics that your customers will want in 2009.

See you in Chicago.

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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