Will the supply chain crisis affect outdoor furniture purchases?

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If you’re looking to create that perfect backyard environment for summertime fun and family “getaways” this summer, you might want to start shopping for your new outdoor furniture and accessories as soon as possible, according to industry experts. The outdoor and casual furniture industry is facing similar issues to those that plagued the conventional furniture industry last year, when consumers were forced to wait months or even up to a year. , for all types of upholstered furniture, mattresses and storage items.

Soaring consumer demand for all types of products is one of the factors driving global shortages and rising commodity prices on everything from foam and fabrics to wood and metal , all components integral to outdoor furniture and accessories. Combine these problems with a shortage of shipping containers, congestion at major US ports, domestic and international labor shortages fueled by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and rising gas prices, and it’s easy to see why buyers might want to buy or order their furniture now, even if spring is just beginning.

However, there is good news: even if it is not everything new products are in stock and available immediately, retailers and manufacturers have anticipated potential shortages and have been stocking up, so there is a good assortment available… especially if you are not attached to one design or style particular.

Growing demand

The ongoing global pandemic that has forced everyone to ‘shelter in place’ has caused many consumers to rethink their indoor and outdoor furniture, resulting in incredible demand for all things ‘at home’. This means homeowners are investing more in their patio furniture and accessories: the global casual and outdoor furniture market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2026, up from $17.1 billion in 2020, according to a published study. by a market research company. Global industry analysts.

Carol Daus, editor-in-chief of Patio and Fire Pit Products Report, one of the industry’s leading trade magazines, agrees. “Buyer interest continues to exist as the trend to expand living space in outdoor residential areas continues to grow,” she said, adding that in addition to installing outdoor kitchens and outdoor entertainment, “some customers have even set up outdoor offices for remote working. and outdoor “chambers” in hot climates.

Jessie Flanders, CEO and creative director of Lloyd Flanders, a leading manufacturer, agrees that more and more people are spending more time in their own backyards. “COVID and the subsequent return to the appreciation of gatherings with friends and family in outdoor spaces has rekindled the passion for our outdoor living spaces.”

“People will continue to invest time and money in their backyards,” says Daus. “As a growing number of people trade travel for vacation, they’re motivated to create their own outdoor oasis that at least makes them feel like they’re on vacation.”

Shortages impact buyers

supply chain crisis and outdoor furniture

Photo: istockphoto.com

Unsurprisingly, however, all of this demand has resulted in shortages. Daus points out that specialty retailers and manufacturers in the outdoor/leisure furniture industry have been heavily impacted by supply chain issues, from shortages of fabrics to raw materials, as well as shortages of containers and low congestion in the ports.

“Throughout this time with COVID, factories in Asia have experienced work stoppages/production delays due to the virus, so limited overseas production was a major factor,” she says. “In 2020 and 2021, smaller independent retailers in our market were overwhelmed by consumer demand and many were left with low inventory in their showrooms.

Market rebound

Fortunately, manufacturers have been responsive to slowdowns and increased demand. “The good news,” says Daus, “is that shipping times and costs have improved and inventory is stabilizing in 2022.”

Flanders agrees, saying, “While there is some uncertainty, you can feel us getting closer and closer to enjoying a return to a ‘normal’ feel,” adding that his company has “increased our inventory levels from the minute we reopened after the initial COVID shutdown, expanded our manufacturing hours where possible, increased hiring to meet the surge in demand, and expanded our number of suppliers in regions that have been hardest hit by supply constraints.

Jaclyn C. Hirschhaut, Executive Director of the International Casual Furniture Association says that outdoor furniture manufacturers strive to deliver orders as quickly as possible. “Some stores have changed their traditional purchasing strategies over the past couple of years to bring more inventory into their warehouses, which positions them to be able to deliver a purchase quickly,” she adds.

The earlier the better

supply chain crisis and outdoor furniture

Photo: istockphoto.com

Nevertheless, the global supply chain remains in motion, and although retailers, manufacturers and industry experts all agree that the best assortment of outdoor furniture hits store shelves in early spring, they also warn that the goods may not remain in stock for long.

“Our patio and outdoor products are available online and in-store,” notes Stephanie Meyering, senior brand communications manager at The reception deposit. “As always, we encourage customers to buy early for the greatest selection.”

“There’s nothing like buying outdoor furniture ‘early’,” says Hirschhaut. “The weather is changing in many parts of the country to welcome the start of our porches, patios and decks. The sooner the better to start the process of buying your outdoor spaces. »

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