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The whys behind the buys

Consumers buying at specialty stores rated a retailer's merchandise mix, customer service and reputation as their three most important attributes.

More than three-fifths of specialty store buyers were replacing previous outdoor furniture last year and one-fourth were in the process of remodeling or redecorating.

And, about one-third of outdoor furniture buyers used the Internet for research before buying last year. Other research shows that a higher percentage of households — about 40% — go online to research home accents, including outdoor accessories. More than half of all buyers said the online research was important in influencing what they bought.

Why consumers bought Bought outdoor furniture at a...
Multiple response Specialty store Discount department store Home improvement center
Replaced previous outdoor furniture 61% 52% 58%
Remodeled/redecorated 25% 12% 15%
First time I had outdoor space available 12% 27% 24%
Furnished a second home 6% 5% 5%
Relocated 4% 8% 9%


When choosing a retailer, how important is it they.... Bought outdoor furniture at a...
Based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is "not at all important" and 5 is "very important"
Average Specialty store Discount department store Home improvement center
Have a wide range of product choices 4.3 4.0 4.2
Offer good sales help/customer service 4.2 4.0 4.1
Have a good reputation in the community 4.0 3.8 3.9
Have matching pieces to purchase later 3.9 3.6 3.7
Offer delivery 3.8 2.9 3.0
Provide after-sale service 3.8 3.4 3.5
Have product available to take home day of purchase 3.8 4.2 4.1
Offer assembly 3.5 2.7 2.7
Offer outdoor products I won't see at my friends or neighbors 3.1 2.9 3.1
Provide design services 2.5 2.3 2.4


Specialty store Discount department store Home improvement center
Yes 36% 35% 31%


What they researched Bought outdoor furniture at a...
Multiple response Specialty store Discount department store Home improvement center
Source: Casual Living Consumer Buying Trends Survey, 2007
Prices 84% 88% 91%
Features/benefits of products 68% 65% 63%
Where to buy 56% 67% 67%
Availability 36% 44% 41%
Warranty information 24% 19% 15%


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