Study: 63% of Americans will upgrade outdoor furniture in 2022

Photo By Lane Venture

HIGH POINT, N.C. – New research shows that COVID-inspired nesting has motivated 78% of Americans to upgrade their outdoor living space in the past year, and 71% to spend a lot more time out back, on average seven hours per week. Plus 63% of households plan to upgrade their outdoor furniture or accessories this year, according to the annual ICFA Outdoor Furnishings Trend Report conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the International Casual Furnishings Association.  

The new research also shows that 89% of Americans have outdoor living space, be it a porch, patio, deck, garden, balcony, or shared public space. And enhancements that people made in the past year include planting new gardens and trees, buying outdoor furniture, and adding fire pits, seating, and fences. 

With more Americans choosing to work from home even though workplaces and schools have reopened, people are taking advantage of their time outside relaxing, cooking, entertaining, gardening, playing with pets, dining, exercising, and, yes, working. Ninety-one percent plan to do “more” in their backyards in 2022. 

By the numbers:
•    63% of Americans will upgrade their outdoor furniture or accessories in 2022.
•    Planned purchases: outdoor lighting, lounge chairs, fire pits, dining tables/chairs, umbrella, sofa, bar plus pillows, and rugs.
•    89% have outdoor space at home where they will do more relaxing, cooking, entertaining, gardening, playing with pets, dining, exercising, and working.
•    91% say that outdoor living space is important in choosing where to live.
•    71% are spending a lot more time outside today than the last year, on average 7 hours per week.
•    In the last year, 78% have made enhancements to their outdoor living space, including planting new gardens and trees, buying outdoor furniture, and adding fire pits, seating and fences. 
•    91% of Americans will do more activities in their outdoor living space than last year.

“Consumers who were thinking about upgrading their outdoor space are doing so now to enjoy their increased time at home in more style and comfort,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “The pandemic has not stopped manufacturers from creating new styles and designs, and retailers are working hard to make sure consumers have access to what makes them happy.”

Top 2022 design trends for outdoors:

Where There’s Smoke. Americans’ wish lists are adding fuel to the fire of the outdoor dining 
trend. Interest in outdoor dining sets (43%) jumped 15 points from last year (28%).

Mixology Under the Stars. Americans are eyeing their outdoor spaces as a place to have another round. Last year, just 14% had outdoor bars on their wish lists – but this year, more than 1 in 5 (22%) are wishing for an outdoor haunt, an 8-point leap.

Wide Open Spaces. More than 7 in 10 of those with outdoor space (71%) agree they spend a lot more time there compared to a year ago – including 79% of parents. It’s a trend that’s set to grow: More than 9 in 10 Americans with outdoor space (91%) plan to use it, even more, this year compared to last, including virtually all parents (96%).

Next Gen Naturalists. Americans are spending more time outdoors, and younger Americans are leading the charge. Nearly 4 in 5 Americans under 40 (78%) are spending more time in the great outdoors compared to a year ago, compared to 66% of Americans 40 and up.

Moments That Matter. Outdoor spaces have become Americans’ go-to for spending time. On 
average, Americans spend 7 hours per week in their outdoor living space, including nearly half (47%) who spend 10 or more hours. 

Outdoor Oasis. Americans plan to spend more time grilling (55%) and entertaining friends 
and family (45%), but more than anything they want to turn outdoor spaces into oases of respite. More than 3 in 5 (61%) plan to use their outdoor living space more this year for relaxation.

Living Room, Minus the Room. Nearly all (92%) Americans have outdoor furniture and/or 
accessories on their wish list to buy in the future – even 76% of those without outdoor spaces 
still have something on their wish list. Outdoor living space wish lists include outdoor lighting (51%, up from 34% in 2021), lounge chairs or chaises (47%, up from 34% in 2021), and fire pits (45%, up from 35% in 2021). 

Upgrades. Nearly 2 in 3 (63%, up from 58% in 2021 and 56% in 2019) plan to purchase more 
furniture and/or accessories for their outdoor living space at some point this year, especially those under 40 (77%, compared to 55% of their older peers). In fact, In the past year alone, 
nearly 4 in 5 (78%) of those with an outdoor living space have made upgrades to it.
Going Green. Americans’ top upgrades to their outdoor space point to a love of nature. The 
enhancements include planting new trees or plants (39%) and adding a garden space (30%). Others bought new outdoor furniture (28%) or added a fire pit (24%).

Power Users. Some have made even more substantial updates to their outdoor space. An impressive 22% added a seating area or updated it with a deck, patio, or porch, while 18% installed a new fence or other dividers.

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