3 COVID-19 Trends That Made 2020 a Banner Year for Outdoor Living Industry

A new Freedonia Group analysis finds that demand for outdoor living products surged more than 8% in 2020, driven by several trends that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighted below are three of the key growth drivers of 2020, plus a look ahead at what the rest of 2021 holds for the outdoor living industry.

Pandemic-Driven Boom in DIY Gardening & Lawn Maintenance a Major Factor of 2020 Growth

Spending a lot more time at home during the pandemic, consumer habits changed dramatically, driving elevated DIY gardening and lawn and yard maintenance activity, whether as a hobby or a cost-saving measure amid a time of financial uncertainty. For example:

  • 26% of adult respondents to the August 2020 edition of The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey reported that they had started a food garden because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The gardening boom nationwide led to record sales at many garden supply retailers (as well as supply shortages early on in the pandemic, when demand spiked).
  • Major gardening product suppliers like Scotts Miracle-Gro also reported robust growth in their consumer segments for 2020, and revenues remain strong in 2021.

Looking forward, gardening is expected to remain above pre-pandemic levels, although some households are expected to return to pre-COVID-19 gardening habits once the pandemic is under greater control and the rate of new hobbyists entering the market is expected to slow considerably.

Outdoor Spaces Take on New Importance in Time of Social Distancing

In 2020, socially distanced outdoor socializing became the norm in many households, increasing the emphasis on creating a pleasant outdoor living space, including investment in landscaping, outdoor recreation areas, and lawn and garden maintenance. Homeowners who invested in their outdoor spaces for entertaining are likely to continue to use these spaces for these purposes more often going forward than they did prior to the pandemic. Additionally, they will be more likely to periodically upgrade their outdoor entertaining areas with new products.

Homeowners Splurged on Intensive Home “Staycation” Renovations in 2020

Many consumers invested some funds they would have normally used on vacations and other leisure or recreational activities that were canceled due to the pandemic to pay for staycation upgrades, such as installing pools and expanding outdoor recreation areas. As a result, many contractors had to turn prospective customers away due to the spike in demand, and many of the consumers who were unable to get the pool of their dreams last year may try again in 2021.

Outdoor Living Demand to Slow But Remain Elevated in 2021

Demand for outdoor living products in the US is forecasted to increase 1.8% from a high 2020 base to $33.4 billion in 2021. Even in segments with limited additional growth, maintaining the historically high levels of 2020 is an achievement. Although 2020 had many households making large-scale, one-time investments in their outdoor spaces – a key driver of outdoor living sales in any year – there remains plenty of room for market expansion.

Want to Learn More?

Outdoor Living Products 2021 is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the US market for consumer-grade outdoor living products for residential do-it-yourself (DIY) applications, and excludes products intended for professional or commercial use. Historical data are provided for 2019 and 2020 and forecasts for 2021 and 2025 for outdoor living products at the manufacturers’ level in current dollars (i.e., not adjusted to account for inflation). Values do not take into account retail markups.

Outdoor living products are segmented by the following applications:

  • lawn and yard maintenance
  • outdoor cooking, entertaining, and recreation
  • gardening
  • outdoor design and landscape materials