Analysis: 4th of July and Demand for Backyard & Outdoor Products

There’s no question that Independence Day is the summer holiday in the United States. From fireworks and parades to pool parties and backyard BBQs, July 4th is synonymous with some of our very favorite summertime traditions.

So, with temperatures rising and Independence Day 2021 rapidly approaching, we thought this would be a perfect time to dive into our data to learn more about the impact the holiday has on outdoor gathering supplies.

Is the 4th of July the top time of year for online demand for outdoor furniture? What about barbeque or grilling gear? Did COVID-19 have a major impact last year? And is demand ramping up this year as things start to re-open?

Our data science team analyzed market demand for outdoor gathering supplies from 2019 through March 2021 to find out the answer to these questions and more.

How big was the boost in demand for outdoor gathering supplies during the week of Independence Day?

We started by choosing a handful of categories that people might shop for if they’re looking to host a backyard 4th of July party. We then examined demand at each of those categories for each week of 2020 to see how much demand shot up during the week of the 4th.

Here’s what we found:

Unsurprisingly, demand for July 4th Decor gets a massive boost in demand during the week of the holiday, with weekly demand skyrocketing to 447% more than the weekly average throughout the rest of the year (which you’ll see in a moment is usually around zero).

It’s not just holiday-themed supplies that get a big boost, however, as folding canopies saw demand increase by a whopping 278% during the week of June 29th through July 5th.

Patio furniture got a significant 70% bump in demand, and the 64% increase in demand for folding chairs was actually large enough for it to be the biggest week of the year for that category.

The week of the Fourth of July was an above-average demand week for all of the categories in our analysis, and it was a top 10 week of the year for each category except for fire pits.

To more clearly illustrate how the week of Independence Day fits in with the rest of the year, we’ll now take a look at the weekly demand chart for each category. First up: July 4th Decor.

Demand for 4th of July Decor was nearly nonexistent until late April, but didn’t really start to pick up until June. The week prior to Independence Day (Jun 22 - Jun 28) was actually the biggest single week of the year, but the two biggest single-days were Mon Jun 29 and Tue Jun 30.

Again, it’s no surprise at all that nearly all demand for 4th of July Decor occurs right around the holiday, so let’s move on to the broader categories, starting with the furniture-related categories.

The big holiday for Patio Furniture was definitely Memorial Day Weekend. The week of the holiday was the top week of the year while the two weeks prior were the #2 and #3 weeks of the year as well.

This makes sense, as Memorial Day kicks off the start of summer, which is when people would be most likely investing in the kind of backyard upgrade that involves larger purchases like patio furniture.

Things look different when we drill deeper into the less permanent types of outdoor furniture items that you might seek out if you’re hosting a big 4th of July party:

It appears that there was an initial depression in demand for folding chairs in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that patio furniture (as a more permanent outdoor furniture category and one less associated with larger outdoor gatherings) did not experience.

But that impact appears to have been short-lived as demand climbed steadily through late spring and early summer, peaking during the week of Independence Day and slowly declining thereafter.

Folding canopies appear to be incredibly popular for Fourth of July parties, as demand absolutely skyrockets during the week of the holiday. This is further evidence that it’s supplies and items for larger-scale outdoor gatherings that rely on the holiday most heavily.

We see further evidence for this in the demand chart for BBQ gear and supplies as well as smokers. Demand for these items and supplies peaks during the week of Father’s Day, with Memorial Day Weekend driving the second largest week.

And while we do see a notable spike during the week of Independence Day, it pales in comparison to the previous holidays.

The trend for fire pits isn’t too dissimilar, only Memorial Day was the top holiday with Father’s Day coming in at number two. The 4th fell during the summer drop off in demand before October brings a seasonal rebound in demand.

The primary takeaway from each of the charts above? It’s clear that most Americans don’t look to the 4th of July as a holiday for big ticket items. Instead, they’re far more likely to be searching for items meant to accommodate a large number of guests to enjoy something they cooked up on that new smoker they got for Father’s Day.

How did COVID-19 impact demand for outdoor gathering supplies, and are we seeing a 2021 rebound?

Outside of the springtime dip in demand for folding chairs, there wasn’t any clear evidence that COVID-19 had a major impact on demand for any of the categories in the charts above. But, naturally, we wanted to dig deeper.

With Americans spending more time in their backyards than ever before, was summer of 2020 a particularly huge year for patio furniture? Or did fewer backyard parties see demand actually dip for some of these categories?

To find out, we analyzed monthly demand for each category from 2019 through May, 2021.

Let’s start again by examining 4th of July decor:

Here we see that 2020 was, indeed, a slower year for 4th of July Decor with millions of Americans holding off on a major holiday bash in order to safely practice social distancing. Demand in June 2020 was -21% lower than in June 2019.

Demand this year is already surging, trending way ahead of both 2020 and 2019. Demand in May 2021 was 208% higher than in May 2020 and 190% higher than in May 2019. It would appear that pent up demand for a big 4th of July bash combined with rising vaccination rates and things reopening is translating into huge Independence Day decor sales.

Let’s see if these trends hold for some of our other categories.

It seems that the extra time we all spent in our own homes last year translated to a big increase in demand for patio furniture. Demand in May 2020 surged way ahead of demand during the same time in 2019, and remained higher through the rest of the year.

Interestingly, it appears that the prospect of the world reopening has only increased this trend, as demand in 2021 has outpaced even 2020’s elevated figures.

Demand for folding chairs tells a somewhat similar story. While demand in 2020 fell behind during the early months of the pandemic, it surpassed 2019’s figures in time for the 4th of July last year.

Once again, though, it looks like we’re seeing the results of pent up demand and the return of larger social gatherings here in 2021.

Demand for folding canopies in 2020 didn’t pick up until much later in the year than in 2019, but rose to much larger heights than in 2019. And unlike our other categories, 2021 hasn’t yet shown any sign of a major boost in demand, although we’ll have to wait and see if that changes as we get deeper into summer.

More time at home and less time eating out brought a surge in demand for outdoor cooking gear and supplies in 2020, especially in late spring and early summer.

2021 Demand for those categories has slowed to below 2020 figures, though, suggesting that surge may be more short lived in comparison.

It’s a similar story for fire pits, with demand surging in 2020, staying high in early 2021, but appearing to have possibly maxed out during last year’s heights.

The primary takeaway? 2020 was a huge year for making your backyard a cozier and more inviting place to hang out, but it didn’t appear to be a big year for throwing a huge 4th of July bash.

2021, meanwhile, looks to be a big year for big 4th of July parties. While demand for big ticket backyard items is slowing down to behind 2020’s figures, demand is surging for items like folding chairs and 4th of July decor.

A lesson for brands

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we may continue to see demand for grills and smokers continue to fall behind 2020’s heights, but we could very well see trends start to reverse. We might also see 4th of July decor continue to skyrocket, or it could be that pent up excitement led people to buy a month earlier than usual. Only time will tell, so stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, by subscribing to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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