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Research points to opportunities in outdoor entertaining

More than 75% of home entertainers prefer the more laidback approach and spacious feeling they get from entertaining in the great outdoors, according to Outdoor Entertaining Trends 2010: Consumers Bring the Indoors Out, a report from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group.

The top outdoor entertainment items currently owned by consumers cross a variety of industries. Outdoor furniture, gas barbecue grills and plastic (non-disposable) tableware are items, in addition to outdoor lighting, that continue to thrive as staple purchases for outdoor entertaining.

According to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, in the 12 months ending April 2011, dollar sales of acrylic/plastic beverageware grew by 3%, with the largest growth coming from sets of glasses/stemware/tumblers and drinking glasses/tumblers. Another positive sign for the industry is that more acrylic/plastic beverageware purchases are being made by consumers for their own use, rather than as a gift.

About a quarter of home entertainers told NPD they power wash outdoor spaces in preparation for their outdoor events, as well as purchase themed or decorative items.

“Consumers emphasize product availability and selection as the key shopping considerations when selecting a retailer for their outdoor entertaining purchases," said Peter Goldman, president of NPD’s home division. "Despite a challenging economy, consumers are on the lookout for that new item that will spruce up their outdoor living space each year. It’s just a matter of where they can find it."

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