Originally published in the December 2013 print issue of Casual Living
Another two years has passed since we last published a Universe Study and while retail spending levels haven't recovered to pre-recession levels, things are looking up.
Here are indicators to be wary of: Consumer confidence faltered this October on the heels of the government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis, dropping nine points from 80.2 in September to 71.2. Even so, it's nowhere near as low as it was in October 2011, when it plunged to 40.9. Economists predict consumer confidence will fluctuate over the next several months, influencing shoppers' willingness to spend.
The best indicators center on housing data. The National Association of Realtors recorded 4.7 million existing home sales in September, up 10.9% from the previous year. And, Census data pegs new home sales for August at 421,000, an increase of 12.6% from a year ago.
Outdoor living is a key component of new homes, as single-family home data from the Census Bureauís annual Survey of Construction reveals. The percentage of homes started in 2012 with a deck is an average of 52%. Decks are most popular in New England, including the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, while patios are most prevalent with new homes built in the West South Central part of the country: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
With all of this in mind, retail forecasts are cautiously optimistic and we agree. Casual Living projects the 2013 outdoor market, including furniture, shade products and grills, will total $6.03 billion, up a slight 0.9% from 2012ís sales of $5.98 billion.
Casual Living's exclusive Universe Study of the outdoor home furnishings industry provides estimated 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 retail sales totals for outdoor furniture and grills, as well as the percentage and dollar breakdowns by specific products through all distribution channels.
All figures are Casual Living market research estimates. All data is based on U.S. retail sales figures and do not include second-hand or used merchandise. All figures have been rounded.
Universe Study figures include sales from outdoor dining sets, conversation/chat groups, other seating, shade products, other outdoor furniture and grills. Casual and outdoor accessories, as well as outdoor lighting, have been excluded from figures.
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