More time at home means more time in the outdoor space

Since furniture factories and retail stores began re-opening in April and May, sales in product categories such as home office and bedding have soared, which is not surprising since most of us are spending a lot more time at home these days.

But sales are also booming in one often overlooked furniture category: outdoor.

And that shouldn’t be surprising, either, since those of us who are spending a lot more time at home need to get some fresh air once in a while. So why not relax on comfortable outdoor furniture?

Outdoor furniture insiders tell us seating products are leading the charge, followed closely by dining tables and shade products.

And Luis Ruesga, CEO of Zuo, tells us the company’s most popular “shade” products are beach daybeds, which are cabana-like structures similar to those found at luxury resorts. Zuo’s daybed models typically seat three to five people and can be configured to shade the entire group – or just one person if someone wants to slip away for an afternoon nap.

If there’s not room for a daybed, he said one of Zuo’s many other outdoor seating items – including sofas, chairs and chaise lounges -- should make the space look and feel relaxing.

The reason for brisk outdoor furniture sales is actually pretty simple. Consumers have spent very little money this year on leisure travel, so they’re devoting those resources to refurbishing their outdoor living space – in addition to other areas of the house. The outdoor space is a great setting for small family gatherings when everyone gets tired of being cooped up in the house. It’s also a much safer setting that makes social distancing easier for guests.

Interior designers also are getting in on the action by renovating outdoor spaces as part of larger home re-design efforts or as stand-alone projects. And even though the hospitality business has been crushed by the pandemic, some properties are taking advantage of this “down time” to renovate.

The outdoor furniture rebound couldn’t be coming at a better time for the category, which was poised to have a banner year before COVID-19 shutdowns began taking place in March and April – the height of the outdoor selling season in many regions of the country. This summer and fall surge may not make up for all the lost business in the spring, but it gives everyone hope that the selling season won’t be a total washout.