This report originally appeared in the May 2012 print issue of Casual Living
Hindered by the recession, the contract segment of the outdoor furniture industry is beginning to turn the corner, according to vendors answering Casual Living's exclusive survey. One respondent noted, "There is a large pent-up demand for better outdoor products and it's time for this industry to explode soon."
Manufacturers are using several strategies to accelerate contract growth, including the expansion of sales forces. Currently 84% of vendors have sales reps dedicated to the contract sector, with 75% employing independent reps.
Many are increasing advertising and attending more trade shows. Designing customized product has also been successful for vendors. As one respondent mentions, "We have done very well in 2011 and expect 2012 to be a phenomenal year with our new products and reps that we've built over the last year."
About the data
Casual Living magazine, in partnership with the International Casual Furnishings Association, surveyed casual and outdoor vendors to gain a better understanding of outdoor contract and hospitality marketing, including a gauge of the opportunities and challenges within the industry. Responding vendors provided answers to an 18-question online survey in February and March 2012. Combined respondents sold more than $150 million worth of contract casual furniture in 2011.
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