Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Outdoor Cooking Consumer market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer.

2020 was not anticipated to be a record year for the outdoor cooking industry. Prior to the pandemic, demand for grills and outdoor cooking equipment was modest at best. But as the pandemic led to widespread lockdowns, Americans began investing more in their homes, enhancing their outdoor spaces and buying new outdoor cooking equipment. The unexpected surge in demand has created opportunities and challenges for manufacturers and retailers. While previous category struggles remain, like long purchase cycles, another element that players will need to contend with will be maintaining engagement as economies reopen and Americans return to activities put on the back burner for the past year, shifting their attention away from outdoor cooking.

Read on to discover more about the US Outdoor Cooking consumer market, read our Outdoor Leisure Activities – US – 2021 report, or take a look at our other Food Industry research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the outdoor cooking market.
  • Outdoor cooking equipment experiences high penetration, allowing brands to focus on consumer experience.
  • Outdoor cooking equipment shopping needs to evolve to merge physical with digital.
  • New and existing hurdles can be overcome by focusing on themes that resonate best with outdoor cooking participants: convenience, flavor and enjoyment.

Covered in this report

Brands: Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wayfair, Snow Peak USA, Weber, Char-Broil, OXO Outdoor, Traeger.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Rebecca Watters, a leading analyst in the Food and Foodservice sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends, and add expert context to the numbers.

2020 was a good year for the outdoor cooking market. COVID-19 drove consumers back to their homes, which led them to prioritize their surroundings and invest in their outdoor spaces. What’s more, outdoor cooking became a source of escape and relaxation, as well as provided consumers an opportunity to shake up their typical cooking routines to avoid fatigue. Outdoor cooking equipment adoption and new outdoor cooking behaviors established during 2020 should help drive further consumer participation in the space that lasts beyond the pandemic.

Rebecca Watters, Senior Household Care Analyst
Rebecca Watters,
Senior Household Care Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • Market context
            • Economic and other assumptions
              • COVID-19: US context
              • Executive Summary

                  • Top takeaways
                    • Market overview
                      • Figure 1: Outdoor cooking equipment ownership, 2020–21
                    • Impact of COVID-19 on outdoor cooking
                      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on outdoor cooking, july 2021
                    • Opportunities and challenges
                      • Adults shift toward online, but physical retail needs to transform
                        • Living and lifestyle trends spur size and design innovation
                          • Utilize technology to increase reach with consumers
                            • Reinforce the value of versatility and convenience
                              • Figure 3: Fuel priorities, any rank (net), 2021
                          • The Market – Key Takeaways

                            • Supply chain issues will have knock-on effect on future purchases
                              • Consumers remain uncertain of future; homeownership climbs
                              • Market Factors

                                • Supply chain kinks create potential shortages
                                  • Uncertainty lingers even as consumer confidence grows
                                    • Figure 4: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000-April 2021
                                    • Figure 5: Disposable Personal Income change from previous period, January 2007-April 2021
                                  • Home ownership continues to climb
                                    • Figure 6: Number of households, by age of householder, 2010 and 2020
                                • Retailers and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                  • The pandemic tide lifts all outdoor living boats
                                    • Technology brings new engagement opportunities for retailers & brands
                                      • Lean into desire for experiences
                                        • Social commerce will play bigger role in purchase journey
                                        • Market Performance: Leading Retailers

                                          • Major retailers focus on outdoor grilling, showing optimism for the future
                                            • Home Depot
                                              • Lowe’s
                                                • Ace Hardware
                                                  • Wayfair
                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                    • Ace builds on community ties to compete with home centers
                                                      • Figure 7: Ace hosts online outdoor cooking demonstrations on its social media channels
                                                    • Retailers invest in omnichannel
                                                      • Weber looks to expand digital cooking experience
                                                      • Market Opportunities

                                                        • Focus on creating elevated outdoor cooking experience anywhere
                                                          • Figure 8: Snow Peak Takibi Fire and Grill
                                                        • Tap into nostalgia
                                                          • Figure 9: Weber grill original kettle relaunch
                                                          • Figure 10: Char-Broil grills
                                                        • Use social commerce to inspire younger adults and drive commerce
                                                          • Figure 11: Char-broil grill shoppable content
                                                        • Cross-brand partnerships capitalize on outdoor enthusiasm
                                                          • Figure 12: OXO Outdoor
                                                      • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                        • Appreciation for outdoors boosts ownership
                                                          • Replacement drives purchases
                                                            • Deliver digital inspiration
                                                              • Familiarity, convenience drives fuel preferences
                                                                • Innovate in design, functionality to meet younger demographics
                                                                  • Build confidence to enable experiences and maintain engagement
                                                                  • Outdoor Cooking Equipment Ownership and Intent to Purchase

                                                                    • Pandemic serves as catalyst for outdoor cooking purchases
                                                                      • Figure 13: Outdoor cooking equipment ownership, 2020 – 21
                                                                      • Figure 14: Repertoire of outdoor cooking equipment ownership and intent to purchase, 2021
                                                                    • Tap into the urbanite market
                                                                      • Figure 15: Outdoor cooking equipment ownership and intent to purchase, by living location, 2021
                                                                    • Parents are central to future growth
                                                                      • Figure 16: Outdoor cooking equipment ownership and intent to purchase, by parental status, 2021
                                                                  • Outdoor Cooking Equipment Purchase Drivers

                                                                    • Replacement leads in purchase motivators, upgrades not far behind
                                                                      • Figure 17: Outdoor cooking equipment purchase motivators, 2021
                                                                    • Interest in expansion and upgrades strongest among young men
                                                                      • Figure 18: Select outdoor cooking equipment purchase motivators, by gender and age, 2021
                                                                    • Position purchases as permissible investment
                                                                      • Figure 19: Select outdoor cooking equipment purchase motivators, by current financial situation, 2021
                                                                  • Outdoor Cooking Equipment Shopping Attitudes and Behaviors

                                                                    • Shoppers supplement sales assistance with their own research
                                                                      • Figure 20: Outdoor cooking equipment shopping attitudes and behaviors, 2021
                                                                    • Leverage showrooms, digital tools to reassure urban shoppers
                                                                      • Social content can fuel commerce among young adults
                                                                        • Figure 21: Select outdoor cooking equipment shopping attitudes and behaviors, by age, living location, 2021
                                                                    • Fuel Priorities

                                                                      • Convenience continues to drive category purchases
                                                                        • Figure 22: Fuel priorities, 2021
                                                                      • Specialty fuels can lean into demand for convenience
                                                                        • Figure 23: Select fuel priorities –Any rank (net), by select outdoor cooking equipment ownership, 2021
                                                                      • Focus on safety, flavor to reach young outdoor cookers
                                                                        • Figure 24: Select fuel priorities, by age, 2021
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Cooking Outdoors

                                                                      • Outdoor cooking isn’t viewed as a chore
                                                                        • Figure 25: Attitudes toward outdoor cooking, 2021
                                                                      • Innovate around design to meet younger, urban markets
                                                                        • Figure 26: Attitudes toward outdoor cooking – limited by space, by living location, 2021
                                                                        • Figure 27: Traeger range tabletop grill, May 2021
                                                                    • Outdoor Cooking Behaviors

                                                                      • Pandemic fuels category participation
                                                                        • Figure 28: Outdoor cooking behaviors, 2021
                                                                      • Educational experiences create engagement opportunity
                                                                        • Figure 29: Barriers to outdoor cooking, by gender and age, 2021
                                                                      • Facilitate flavor exploration for parents
                                                                        • Figure 30: Select outdoor cooking behaviors, by parental status, 2021
                                                                        • Figure 31: Traeger spotlights mom grillers on social for mother’s day with recipes inspiration, May 2021
                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                              • Terms
                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                  • Figure 32: Quarterly homeownership rate, 1995-2020

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