Retail Penetration: Outdoor
Room® Products & Services
One year ago, in this same space and reporting on the same survey results, we urged retailers to “move beyond the basics. Selling a fire pit or a gas grill,” we said, “may get your foot in the door, but adding other items such as barbecue islands, kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, beverage centers or a pizza oven will move you into the realm of selling a lifestyle, which is really what your customers want to buy anyway – an outdoor lifestyle.”
This year, we’re pleased to say, retailers did just that.
In the above chart, take a look at the numbers in the columns at the left. The percent increase in retailers who carry each product has increased – at times tremendously – over the past 12 months. For example, the percent of retailers who carry patio heaters has jumped from 35 to 51; for pellet grills, the 2015 number was 23 percent and it has increased a huge amount to 45 percent.
In fact, for the 29 categories that we track, only one – that’s right, ONE – category posted a lower number of retailers who carried it in 2016 than in 2015 – torches. It went from 28 percent who carried it last year, to 26 percent this year.
On the service side of the business, results were similar.
Perhaps the most important number to consider on these two pages is 34 – that’s the percent of retailers who now provide design services to their customers interested in creating an Outdoor Room.
The increase was only five percent, from 29 to 34 percent, yet that is five percent more specialty retailers who will find that consumers NEED that service. Creating an Outdoor Room is a challenging process, at least if done correctly. Do a good job helping those who ask for design help and they will spread the news through word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Retailers who sell and install outdoor kitchens went up by a whopping 10 points, to 38 percent, while those who sell and install pergolas leaped eight points to 20 percent; gazebos went from eight to 14 percent.
Over the past year, the specialty retail network of hearth, patio and barbecue shops changed itself, and in a very significant way.