Five years ago, Nationwide Marketing Group identified Outdoor Living as a go-to vertical for dealers to actively merchandize. Many of you took us up on our advice. However, the last two years feels like we have been in a “holding pattern.” Manufacturers were supply constrained and chose not to add new dealers. Meanwhile, dealers were too busy to look at new categories.
Despite these challenges, the Grill Industry grew 15% in 2021 due to increased home ownership, higher MSRPs, and shifting consumer sentiment for more premium grills. We expect those factors to contribute to a 9 percent increase in 2022.
As we look forward, I would start planning 2023 NOW! Seems a little crazy, but Big Box and others will use the next three months to finalize their needs for next year. I implore you to do the same.
Pre-season ordering will begin in August. That means that now is the time to start reviewing your current brand line-up pros and cons. Look to expand fuel types if needed. Work on business “blocking and tackling” in the last three feet this summer. Explore things like experiential selling by cooking during your promotional events. Finally, study the 2022 outdoor living trends below for other opportunities. A good example is outdoor comfort. You should look at ordering heating products NOW!
These suggestions will help you prepare you for an even better ’23.
While gas grills still dominate fuel type, they have fallen from 80% of grill sales 10 years ago to just 57% in 2021. In 2022, pellet grills will outsell charcoal type for the first time in the last century, with approximately 22% share. Better yet, the future is bright for pellet grill sales with approximately only 5% of U.S. households owning one.
Having multiple grills is becoming the norm for consumers. Driving this is fuel types: gas, pellet, lump charcoal, wood, electric and grill types: kamado, smoker, griddle, and pizza oven.
Elsewhere, we’re seeing growing popularity in griddle cooking and pizza ovens.
NKBA has reported that 60% of American homeowners have identified an outdoor kitchen as a primary need for their outdoor living space. Truly built-in kitchens are driving the most volume, but the latest trend is towards “modular built-in” where it looks like one continuous run of products and counter-space, but they are on wheels.
Other appliance solutions like refrigeration and icemakers are regular additions.
Comfort (Heating & Cooling)
“Give a man a fire and he is warm for the day. But set fire to him and he is warm for the rest of his life.” —Terry Pratchett.
A little humor here, but fire has been a necessity since the beginning of time, whether it be to cook on or stay alive. Today, fire is utilized for heat in some cases, but mostly for ambiance. Now is the time to take advantage of the roaring success dealers are having in selling comfort heating product. Smokeless fire pits are setting the pace. New entrants with pellet fired stoves are also capitalizing on the growing demand. Propane fire tables and free-standing heaters are also HOT…. pun intended.
Keeping cool during summer months can be accomplished with misting fans — some that even ship with integrated Bluetooth speakers. Adding shade to the outdoor living area also helps. Pergolas are popular, but umbrellas are also making a statement.
Outdoor Area Furniture
The trends in outdoor furniture consist of three key ingredients: relaxing neutral colors, modular furniture/sectionals, and sustainable products. The trending neutral colors are teal, blues and some toned down browns. Sustainable furniture made from recycled plastics have gained huge popularity, especially with Millennials.
Another unusual trend in outdoor furniture is Bohemian Style. Commonly referred to as Boho Style, it embraces cozy comfort, bold colors, a mix of textures, and an abundance of plants, according to Google. Feels like cozy eclectic to me.
Outdoor lighting is also critical to ambiance and may be a vertical worth investigating.
Adding audio and video to the outdoor space has never been more important, especially as consumers look to up their entertainment offerings in the backyard. Beyond TVs specifically engineered to withstand the elements, you may want to consider adding outdoor audio options to the mix.
I am glad that Spring 2022 is here AND I am even more encouraged for what is yet to come in 2023. Get ready now!
John Laing is the director of outdoor for Nationwide Marketing Group