Popularity of Outdoor Living Spaces
Popularized during the financial crisis of 2008, the term “staycation” was added to our lifestyle vocabulary when people began enjoying vacation time in their own places of residence, in order to save money.
Today, that trend continues to grow for reasons beyond mere economics, including lifestyle choices, avoiding the hassles of travel, and finding innovative ways to increase existing home value.
The Outdoor Living Trend Continues to Grow
A key indicator of this trend is the burgeoning popularity of outdoor living spaces and the upscale features that dress them up.
Need proof? The American Institute of Architects (AIA) noted in a 2014 survey that outdoor living spaces have emerged as the most popular special function room among homeowners. The AIA survey also noted that 69-percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping—an increase of six-percent since 2013. A Better Homes and Gardens study found homeowners view outdoor living spaces as an expansion of the home and a vital family-time venue.
Pinterest—the fastest-growing social media site—ranks “Home” as its top category and “For the Home” as its most popular Pinterest board name. Within these, outdoor kitchens, landscaping ideas, and porch and deck projects receive plenty of pins and repins from the Pinterest audience (87/17-percent women/men in the U.S.; 56/44-percent men/women in the U.K.).
Outdoor Living Spaces Enhance Home Value
While spending time in personalized outdoor living areas is a source of great enjoyment for many, homeowners are often motivated to focus resources on outdoor living in order to enhance overall atmosphere of the home and increase resale value, as Kleber & Associates found in a recent survey. Other motivations are spending more time at home with friends and family, enjoying outdoor spaces even in inclement weather and connecting with nature.
Outfitting these outdoor spaces can be as simple as placing a portable charcoal grill on the patio or as elaborate as equipping the space with an extensive outdoor living room, complete with a kitchen, fireplace, high-definition television and surround sound audio system. This phenomenon is fueling multiple industries that manufacture products for the outdoors: appliances, furniture, lighting, landscaping, insect repellent systems, water features, electronics, garden products, fire pits, sunrooms, screened porches, hot tubs, heat lamps, pools, decks, ponds, gazebos, pizza ovens and more.
Demographics Driving the Outdoor Living Trend
Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) and Baby Boomers heading into their retirement years, are fueling the popularity of outdoor living spaces. Studies show that Millennials are optimistic about the future and place a high value on owning their own homes. According to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 90-percent of Millennials prefer to live in rural or suburban areas rather than in an urban atmosphere. As a result, most Millennials have either purchased a house in the last three years, or plan to buy a house within the next three years.
What This Means to Marketers
We’re always looking for trends that affect the marketing of home and building products. With the advent of spring and rising outside temperatures, we expect homeowner interest in outdoor living spaces to continue to increase—potentially driving sales across multiple product categories.
All indicators point to the fact that outdoor living upgrades and renovations are not just a limited-time trend or movement, but a well-loved staple of the American home, and here to stay. And, personalized outdoor living spaces make a “staycation” more competitive with expensive, exotic resorts.