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Hearth & Home October 2015

Design by Botanical Decorators, Alexandria, Virginia.

2015 Barbecue Mid-year Snapshot

Apparently wet weather and barbecuing just don’t mix very well.

Ed. Note: Hearth & Home’s Barbecue Mid-year Snapshot was mailed on July 7 to 2,000 specialty retailers of barbecue products. A total of 185 were returned and usable. 

In 2015, mid-year sales of barbecue products showed next to no growth over mid-year sales in 2014. The percent of retailers who were up in sales (30%) was about the same as those who were down (27%), which leaves 43 percent with sales equal to last year’s.

Remember, spring and early summer were exceptionally wet in 2015. Just about every area was subjected to large amounts of rain during that period.

Tough weather notwithstanding, 30 percent of those who sell fire pits were up in sales; 25 percent of those who sell gas grills were up; 22 percent were up in the smoker/kamado category, 21 percent who sell pellet grills and 18 percent who sell charcoal grills.

Now, if you’re in the barbecue category, how can you not sell at least charcoal and gas grills? 

Gas Grills

Gas Grills

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal Grills

Infrared Grills

Retailer Comments

Northeast

Delaware: “Weber is still our draw for grill customers. Primo is starting to become more requested. Traeger selling its product online has hurt our business. We still sell large amounts of pellets.”

Delaware: “We’re losing sales to online sales by Traeger. We’re thinking about dropping the line. Also, I believe they are starting to sell Traeger grills in some of the Big Box stores like Home Depot.”

Maine: “We have an outdoor display with good visibility to passing traffic that helps. Gas grill price point is still a problem due to Big Box stores flooding the market with low quality, inexpensive grills.”

Massachusetts: “Our grill business finally took off this year partly due to aggressive marketing of a very high-end line we carry. Also, being listed as an authorized dealer on the company’s website always helps, but there seemed to be a rise in customers designing outdoor patios in our area (which carries a high median income level). They want the best products so they do their homework to find those products.”

New Hampshire: “Grill sales are very slow. Big Green Egg sales are way down. Time to get out!”

New Jersey: “We put in new fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and fire tables. It’s showing good results.”

New York: “June 2015 was twice the money of June 2014, but 2014 really stunk! The increase was two grills, a bunch of repair parts and fire pits. Grills in general are down and only a small part of the business.”

Pennsylvania: “Too many look-a-likes coming in from overseas. Customers are getting concerned and confused. Educating a consumer about the difference between U.S. made and imports is not that hard, but if they are blinded by a dollar sign the only thing that you can say is ‘cheap furniture is cheap furniture.’”

Smokers and Kamados

Smokers and Kamados

Pellet Grills

Pellet Grills

Electric Grills

Electric Grills

South

Mississippi: “No building going on. Slow.”

Tennessee: “A few more grill sales, but not enough to get excited about.”

Tennessee: “We started getting into the hardscape business, so we are selling more high-end brands like Alfresco. Also, customers who allow us to quote but use another vendor for the hardscape usually end up using our grills, cabinets/storage, sinks, etc.”

Texas: “Texas’ heavy rains in the first quarter kept sales slow, but now that it’s drying up business has picked up and we are back to normal.”

Virginia: “It was a very good season selling gas grills and accessories.”

Midwest

Michigan: “New houses and remodels are keeping us busy. Gas grill sales are up. There’s a lot of tire kickers. Busy traffic. Traffic follows what we advertise.”

Michigan: “We have dropped Weber because every gas station, hardware store and grocery store in a 20-mile radius stocks them. We have moved into mid- to high-end grills and outdoor kitchen components. With slower traffic, we feel the higher price points may be concerning to some customers, preventing a purchase. Individual sales amounts are higher, but we just are not moving as much inventory.”

Minnesota: “Too many others are selling kamado grills. Competitors are already discounting on products that are at a low margin in the first place. There’s no protected territories anymore.”

Ohio: “Rain, rain, rain. Slow traffic. Cookouts every weekend did not help.”

Ohio: “Gas grill sales have been sluggish. Northeast Ohio has experienced near-record levels of rain from late spring into summer. I can only assume this has been the cause of the drop in sales compared to previous years. Big Green Eggs and larger fireplace remodeling projects have helped to keep us on a good sales pace.”

Ohio: “Will it ever get warm and stop raining? Kamados: Competition down the street is making 17 points on Big Green Egg and ruining this market. Pellet: Pellet grills keep bringing customers back for more pellets and smoking woods. Our charcoal, rubs and sauce business is through the roof.”

Ohio: “Even with the poor weather this spring and early summer, it’s been a very good year for grilling. We continue to hold our grilling classes which have been extremely popular and also have created sales.” 

Wisconsin: “The gas grills are selling online and at Big Boxes – they’re just not profitable anymore. We carry Weber and will change next year to someone who protects their dealers.” 

Hybrid Grills

Hybrid Grills

Prefab Grill Islands

Prefab Grill Islands

Fire Pits

Fire Pits

West

California: “1. Green Mountain Grills – pellets. 2. American Fyre Designs – fire pits. 3. Fire Magic and Big Green Egg – smokers and gas grills.” 

Colorado: “Unit volume is up but revenue is down. We sold nine percent more grills but profit is down 12 percent. There’s pressure from the Internet and close-out sales of discontinued barbecues.”

Colorado: “Grills and outdoor items are going great this year. I was just sitting on a stock of accessories until I started giving a discount with a purchase of a new grill or fire pit. Now the accessories are flying off the shelves.”

Nevada: “SLOW.”

Washington: “We have had a burn ban in Northwest Washington. It prohibits wood-burning fire pits and charcoal grills. My gas fire pits are steady. The wood fire pits are not getting any action currently and kamados are also at a halt. No rain in sight and the burn ban is on through September 2015.”

Washington: “Manufacturers are going to Big Box stores. We’re re-thinking barbecue sales. Not much profit for the effort.”

Canada

British Columbia: “Great weather. Early Spring seems to be the strongest external drive to our change in sales.”

British Columbia: “Over-all, our customers are holding on to their money.”

British Columbia: “Grills started early and have just carried on. It’s a really strong year for Big Green Eggs, barbecue islands and fire pits. Great weather has helped.”

Manitoba: “I sell the Napoleon Prestige models and Pro series. This unit comes with the SS grate, four burners and an infrared sideburner. We’re selling lots and are very happy. We’re up 25 to 50 percent.” 

Newfoundland: “Fire pits are way up and grills are good. We displayed more models and price ranges from $499 up to $2,100 and that made the difference – more variety.”

Ontario: “In this area things seem to have either disappeared due to the fear of recession (again) or gone Big Box. That Big Green Egg opened all our local hardware stores really didn’t help much. For us, high-end grills not only slowed to a standstill, they never really started. By the first of July we should have been scratching the remaining inventory for hammocks and outdoor seating; this year we still have the opening order pretty much intact.”

Quebec: “Bigger floor display on grill islands created bigger sales.”

Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor Fireplaces

Barbecue Retailer Sales

Barbecue Retailer Sales

 


Companies Mentioned

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