It has been a stressful and long winter. With the weather turning, many people are restless to get outside. But this year many have struggled in finding patio furniture to either build that perfect outdoor space or upgrade it. Stores are empty of products and online delivery is taking forever. It is only the start of the summer! How could this be? We will try to explain this unique situation and answer the most common questions.
How did it happen?
The first question customers often ask us at ORWW is “how do you run out of furniture?” After all, we are an outdoor furniture store, that essentially is all we sell. How do we run out of our main products? Unfortunately, the simplest answer is Covid-19.
Like most stores, furniture supply stores look at the previous year’s sales to determine what to stock the next year. This system is never completely accurate, but we cannot see the future either. In 2020 most stores had stocked themselves with what they believed would be sufficient stock for the upcoming season. However, when Covid-19 started people not only cleaned out old attics and hoarded toilet paper but also updated their backyards and patios
This led to a quick increase in demand for outdoor furniture suppliers. Again, these stores had only stocked based on the previous year, so they were unprepared for the surge. Yes, it was a great season for these stores but also incredibly stressful.
Fast forward to 2021, Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc. The demand for outdoor furniture did not decrease but increased further. Those who did not get furniture in 2020 and still wanted it, showed up even earlier to buy furniture. Also, those who were not interested in updating their backyards last year now accept it will be another summer at home and thought they might as well make these spaces more comfortable.
But the industry had yet to recover from the previous year. Many companies had a ton of backorders to fill and were now experiencing Covid-19 restrictions. Factories were getting shut down, staff reduced, and raw materials became harder to obtain. Any store that sold outdoor furniture quickly found it harder to keep its shelves filled.
How can I get furniture?
The next question we get asked is “well, where can I get furniture now?” And honestly, we do not know. Our store is struggling to keep stock, so we are always looking out for stores that have stock. We want to know where we can send customers if we cannot help them.
But luckily there are ways that you can ensure you can get new furniture next year. In the fall keep an eye out for pre-buy programs. Often an outdoor store will offer great deals to customers who are willing to wait a few extra months for products. Also, this ensures you get the furniture you want. There is nothing worse than settling for furniture you do not really like than having to look at it for years!
What is 2022 going to be like?
Due to the depleting supply of natural materials, it looks like next year will be worse than this year for furniture shoppers. Some suppliers have already told stores to pre-order stock or do not expect to get anything. Prices are expected to rise too. In some cases, up to 15%!
Unfortunately, it may take a bit of time for the industry to fully recover and allow certain luxuries like quick deliveries again. But outdoor furniture stores will not be the only store to experience this. Remember to be kind to employees and patient if you choose to shop for any furniture in 2022.