Ray Allegrezza -- Casual Living, 8/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
Successful retailers are far more than mere merchants; they are also successful students of the business.
And as we all know, successful students study. That same logic holds true for successful retailers. They study their competition, their customers, changing demographics, new product trends and much more.
However, superior retailers oft en do even more. They constantly scour the Internet for new information that can give them additional insights and advantages regarding their market segments.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a study that I found online that I think will interest you.
Called the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the study concluded that consumers' desire to spend time outdoors, and in their own back yards, is stronger than ever. (This issue of Casual Living zeroes in on this trend in its exclusive research on The Outdoor Room, page 81.)
The survey, which asked residential landscape architecture professionals about the estimated popularity of various design elements for 2012, was fielded April 9-18, with 118 architects responding.
When asked to rate the anticipated popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements, the architects indicated that gardens and landscape spaces, with 94.9% rating somewhat or very popular, was followed closely by outdoor living spaces at 91.5%.
Across all categories, 97.4% said that grills would be very in-demand for 2012, followed by low-maintenance landscapes (96.6%), fireplaces/fire pits (95.8%), and dining areas (95.7%).
Lighting features remained a popular choice from 2011 at 93.1%, as Americans plan to take more of their lives outside once the sun sets, the study suggested.
Americans also love their spas (80.4%) and other decorative water elements (89.9%), such as waterfalls or bubblers.
Seating and dining areas remain high on people's lists (95.7%), as do weatherized outdoor furniture at 81.2 %.
Another trend the survey pointed to was an opportunity for retailers of outdoor furniture to plug into the growing assortment of appliances and electronics developed specifically for outdoor use.
To that point, specific items that were mentioned include stereo systems, televisions/projection screens, refrigerators, sinks, outdoor heating and outdoor cooling devices.
And why not? The outdoor room, after all, is the hottest - and coolest - new room in the home.
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