Will 2023 be another strong year for the outdoor category?


HIGH POINT — Next week, outdoor showrooms will open for the first time this year at Atlanta Market, paving the way for the Casual Market’s move to A-town in July, and as the casual industry turns its attention to the next buying season, many might be wondering if the pandemic-fueled demand for outdoor living areas will continue in 2023.

Most forecasts point to a cautiously optimistic “yes.”

In a recent blog, the National Assn. of Home Builders references the “The Future of Home Design” survey conducted by New Home Trends Institute in forecasting continued interest in outdoor spaces for both homeowners and homebuyers. However, the wish list for outdoor living areas has morphed far beyond a large, green backyard, according to survey findings, with consumers looking to create multifunctional outdoor spaces that connect them with nature while also offering traditionally indoor amenities like kitchens, fireplaces, and comfortable seating.

Outdoor Elegance in La Verne, Calif., sells outdoor furniture, barbecues, fountains, pergolas, heaters, umbrellas and outdoor accessories. Sales Manager Rob Decker says that consumer interest in outdoor spaces remains strong.

“The past two years of the pandemic have been our busiest years in our store’s history,” Decker said. “With everyone staying at home during that time, they became more focused on their properties and invested money in fixing up both the interior and exterior spaces. Because of this, our industry saw a substantial surge in business and sales. With such a wide variety of products and materials available that are now made for exterior use, there is a seemingly infinite number of choices available now to the consumer to choose from.”

According to a 2022 Furniture Today Strategic Insights survey, 68% of consumers have an outdoor entertaining space with patios topping the list, followed by decks and open porches. Gen Z, the youngest demographic tracked by the survey, put outdoor furniture on the top of their shopping lists, with 47% investing in individual seating, 40% buying group seating and 43% purchasing occasional tables. Millennial respondents were the top buyers of dining sets, outdoor lighting, and rugs.

Stay tuned for live coverage of Atlanta Market, Jan. 10-14.

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