NPD survey shows more prefer outdoor entertaining 

Retailers:Keeping shelves stocked after Fourth of July holiday will pay off

Today, consumers are entertaining outdoors more than ever before and they’re doing it with style.  According to new research from The NPD Group, Inc., a leading provider of consumer and retail information, eight in 10 consumers surveyed prefer outdoor entertaining over indoor, weather permitting.
      The main reason for the overwhelming preference is simple – 84% of survey respondents said they enjoy entertaining outdoors. Three quarters of these consumers said, “It feels more laid back than formal entertaining.”
      “This indicates consumers like the more casual entertaining approach the outside has to offer, but they still want to make their outdoor space more formal by giving it an added sense of ambiance and comfort,” said Mark Delaney, director, home improvement.
      As people migrate their entertaining outdoors, they look to dress up their outdoor living space with items such as outdoor fireplaces and gazebos. According to the survey, 23% of homeowners reported owning a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, with another 14% saying they plan to purchase one. Nearly one-third of consumers reported owning or planning to buy a gazebo or canopy, while another 14% either own or plan to buy an outdoor refrigerator.
      “These results are significant given the widespread merchandising of gazebos only really began in the past year or two, while outdoor refrigerators may have gotten a boost in sales as wine coolers gained popularity,” Delaney said.
      Additionally, NPD asked consumers how they would rate retailers’ overall efforts in providing a good selection of outdoor entertaining products; the majority rated them from good to fair. “This may indicate retailers’ product selection is not entirely what they’re looking for and spells opportunity for retailers and manufacturers,” Delaney said. “In order to appeal to consumers ‘trendy outdoor living approach’, retailers need to carry more of the higher quality or ‘trendy’ items and re-examine how they push summer items out of their stores so early in the season. It seems by the Fourth of July most stores are clearing out their inventory and selection is limited, thereby frustrating the consumer. Keeping their shelves well-stocked even after the Fourth of July weekend is crucial if they want to maximize on their return.” 

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