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Ray Allegrezza

Playing the numbers game

March 1, 2010

If your goal is to catch fish, you have to know where and when they are biting. That thinking also holds water for retailers hoping to cash in on consumer trends. 

When it comes to the home — and related opportunities for the outdoor room — those moving targets we call consumers, are shifting their lifestyles again, and what follows is a roadmap showing where they are likely headed. 

Based on a number of presentations made during the recent International Builders show in Las Vegas, consumers are migrating toward smaller, green homes and since they are spending more time at home, are also accelerating their efforts to create outdoor living spaces. 

The viability of both outdoor living and the outdoor room were also confirmed in a report produced by Kleberg & Associates, a marketing and communications agency that specializes in developing and building brands for companies in the home and home-building sectors. 

The report, which analyzes the overall viability and popularity of outdoor living, highlights homeowners’ motivation for establishing outdoor spaces as well as preferences in design trends and product needs. 

Citing information from the National Association of Homebuilders, the study indicates that 65% of luxury homebuyers will invest in outdoor features in their homes. The report also cites findings from a recent Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report that determined that, “19% of recent buyers (occupied their homes for less than two years) and 13% of long-term owners (occupied their homes for more than 20 years) have devoted their home improvement dollars to property improvements and outside attachments.” 

The report contains more good news from the latest survey of the Propane Education & Research Council, which found that, “Outdoor Living rooms have become increasingly integrated into daily life with 64% of homeowners reporting more time spent in their Outdoor Living areas than they spent a few years ago.” 

When Kleberg & Associates augmented these findings by doing in-depth consumer interviews and focus groups, it found enhancing the homes overall atmosphere, providing peace and relaxation and increasing the home’s resale values were the key drivers and benefits consumers associated with their outdoor living spaces. 

As part of its objective to highlight product and design trends for the outdoors, the study found that in terms of product penetration many of the fastest growing outdoor living categories were still registering relatively low in terms of penetration. 

Specific products mentioned include outdoor heater/heat lamps, outdoor rugs, television sets and sound systems.
According to K&L, comprehensive secondary research conducted last year showed that a growing number of consumers are also seeing “plasma TVs, full-function kitchens, surround sound systems, and warm and inviting fireplaces.” 

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of where those fish are biting. Go get them!