Outdoor living industry

State of the Outdoor Living Industry 2021

Last Updated on November 30, 2022


Pandemic-Influenced Millennials Seeking Backyard Superiority Are Driving Outdoor Living Industry Growth

Challenging times for Americans have often become pivotal points for behavioral change that last decades. Our at-home lifestyle is certainly one area undergoing massive evolution because of the recent trials of pandemic life, but it is not the first time we’ve seen this same phenomenon. In its traveling exhibit entitled, “Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard,” the Smithsonian Institute has amassed a collection of period photographs, retro advertisements, pop culture references, and influential landscape designs that defined the post-WWII American backyard. At the time, the finally-ebbing stresses of a war-torn world led Americans to reinvent their notion of relaxation and entertaining at home; the result was the birth of the suburban American backyard. As the nation begins to edge out of a life-altering year of pandemic lockdowns, the American backyard is once again at the forefront of the evolving demands of the American consumer.

The Well-Appointed Backyard is the New American Status Symbol

The Washington Post recently reported on the exploding demand from homeowners for lavish outdoor living spaces which bring the comfort and amenities of their indoor living space to their deck, patio or pool deck. According to the WashPo, these projects run the gamut from, a “dream deck,” in which one homeowner invested $350,000 to an, “outdoor extravaganza including landscaping, pool, waterfall, slide, hot tub and grotto,” which ultimate came in at $550,000! For a nation that has spent more than a year working, hiding, relaxing and entertaining at home due to pandemic restrictions, making their backyard into the ultimate family room has become the newest neighborly rivalry, and even, “the newest American status symbol,” as the WashPo argues.

Outdoor Living is Hot Hot Hot Because of the Pandemic

Trendwatchers continue to highlight the pandemic and its impacts on American home lifestyle behaviors as one of the key drivers of the demand for upscale backyard and patio spaces. In late 2020, editors from home lifestyle magazine Veranda, predicted the boom in demand for outdoor living spaces. They specifically highlighted consumers anticipated demand for all-weather outdoor spaces, and seamless transitions between indoors and outdoors. Meanwhile Forbes.com predicted outdoor kitchens would be all the rage, and expected to see more consumer demand for year-round outdoor structures like small cottages and pergolas. Little did they know that they would both be very, very right.

Realtor Survey: Prospective Buyers Prioritize Backyard Space

Pandemic living hasn’t only changed the way that current homeowners look at upgrading their property, it has changed what prospective homebuyers are asking their realtors to find for them. In late 2020, before the pandemic took full hold of the country, Kiplinger found 87% of home shoppers listed a patio as a top priority for their search, making it the third most-requested amenity on their list. Fast forward to June of 2021, and real estate referral giant HomeLight, is still emphasizing a “functional backyard” and deck spaces on its list of top ten features homeowners are demanding.

backyard space real estate

Millennials Are Driving High-End Outdoor Living Upgrades

Much like the GIs lucky enough to return home after WWII drove the growth of the American suburbs and the new-found love for those backyard amenities, it’s once again the younger generation that is emerging from the trial of the pandemic with a renewed desire for the quintessential elements of the American dream. According to the National Association of REALTORS, Millennials (those born between 1980-1998) make up 47% of current homebuyers. As these young professionals seek to enjoy the bounties of their new homes the last year of the pandemic living is pushing their desire for fully-featured garden spaces, so it’s safe to expect the rest of 2021 will certainly continue to see explosive growth for the outdoor living industry.

Millenials and the outdoor living industry

Outdoor Living Industry, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Primed for These Elevated Consumer Demands

As the warm summer months continue to feed consumer demand for upscale outdoor living and outdoor kitchens, the entire hearth, patio and barbecue industry has been realizing the fruits of those customer demands. In fact, Azenco has seen orders for its innovative pergolas and outdoor living structures exponentially increase by 300% over last year, and the company is tracking towards a $150 million in 2021 gross sales. Later this week, the whole industry will come together for the 2021 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo, America’s largest event dedicated to indoor-outdoor living. With the lingering concerns over pandemic safety, the event is going virtual this year as HPBExpo Connect. Azenco will be joining HPBExpo Connect where we will showcase the latest in high-tech pergolas, carports, pool enclosures, and our K-Bana modular free-standing cabana which won a 2020 VESTA Award at the last HPBA Expo for Best Outdoor Room Furnishing. We are excited to once again join with our fellow outdoor living industry brethren to explore what the industry holds for the future.

Outdoor living industry - HPBA Expo
K-Bana, two-time award winning louvered cabana

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