Affluents are investing more on outdoor living

July 16, 2009
July 16, 2009 – Affluents are spending more on their outdoor living spaces, giving a much needed boost to category retailers and marketers this year. Spending by affluents on outdoor living 'luxuries' rose 22.6 per cent from 2007 to 2008.  Continued strong demand for home improvements to outdoor living areas in the first quarter 2009 boosted affluent's spending by 33 per cent from first quarter 2008. This makes outdoor living a particularly strong category in an otherwise dismal consumer market.

As the summer season heats up, prospects are good for continued growth in the outdoor living market, says Pam Danziger president of Unity Marketing and author of a new trend report on the outdoor living market, entitled Reaping the Fruits of the Recession -- A Trend Report on the Market for Outdoor Living Products, and based upon quarterly surveys among 1,000-1,200 affluent consumers (incomes $100,000 and above) conducted throughout 2007, 2008 and 1Q2009. 

Home improvement stores lead the market in sales of outdoor living products to affluent shoppers

Benefitting most from increased spending in outdoor living goods are big-box home improvement stores, notably Lowes and Home Depot. The average amount spent by affluent shoppers in these types of stores surged 24 per cent in the first quarter 2009 as compared with the same period previous year.  Dow Jones Newswire reports that seasonal living products at Lowe's generated $2.1 billion, or about 5 per cent of 2008 sales. Home Depot lumps seasonal living products in with its hardware sales, and together those categories generated $20.5 billion, or nearly 29 per cent of sales.

Further affluents are turning more frequently to internet and other direct-to-consumer retailers like TV and mail order for outdoor products. Spending by affluents on outdoor living goods through the internet and other direct channels more than doubled from first quarter 2008 to same period 2009. 

Best Buy joins the fray for a share of affluent's outdoor living spending

Not content to let Lowes and Home Deport be the primary beneficiary from affluent's growing interest in enhancing their outdoor living spaces, consumer electronics giant Best Buy began testing several lines of products dedicated to outdoor living, such as grills, fire pits, outdoor lights, and outdoor furniture.  Some of the items -- like home-theater projectors and speakers disguised as rocks are consistent with Best Buy's high-tech brand image, but others like grills, pergolas and outdoor furniture extend the company's offerings into new territory.

"In the current recession affluent consumers are investing more in luxuries for their homes and less on experiences, such as dining and travel," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, commenting on the company's latest survey of luxury consumers. 

"Opportunities abound for marketers and retailers that tap into the product categories where affluents are still willing to indulge, like the outdoor living areas of their homes. This new trend report summarizes the most important findings from Unity Marketing's research into the spending habits of the affluent consumer to provide guidance to marketers and retailers that want more insight into this promising marketplace."

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