Glee 2016: Outdoor entertaining market trends

Mini Cooper Red OpenGlee takes a look at emerging trends in the outdoor entertaining sector for 2016 and how the UK’s leading annual garden and outdoor living trade exhibition will be helping to drive growth in the industry this year.

With recent statistics supporting growth in the home improvement sector, property owners are also focusing their attention on improving not just interior space, but their outside too. Thanks to more choice and budget-friendly options provided by retailers, home entertaining is becoming more affordable and therefore more accessible to consumers.

This is reflected in 2015’s figures that saw growth in the outdoor furniture category (an 8% increase on 2014)1; with overall retail sales appearing to be extremely positive. This need to entertain is feeding the desire for lighting, so that consumers can use their gardens not just throughout summer but beyond. Cost and energy efficient LED lighting is growing increasingly popular, with many people also now using their smart phones to control outdoor lighting systems.

Covered areas are also becoming more popular as a source of shade in summer, as well as shelter during evenings in spring and autumn. This also means that people wishing to socialise al fresco can avoid having their spirits dampened by the unreliable British summer, and can continue sipping Pimms outside regardless of the weather. To provide more versatility to their outdoor space, homeowners can also add £10,000 to their home’s value2 by spending a few thousand pounds on a feature such as a patio with barbecue or hot tub. Built-in barbecues are becoming ever more popular and joined by many more products including pizza and wood fuelled ovens and fridges.

A new generation of garden furniture trends has also emerged which looks set to continue throughout 2016. Gardens are being treated more as an extra outdoor room, taking casual dining to the next level. Creating a space that’s a haven for relaxation and ‘loungability’ and not just for eating and entertainment is growing in popularity; the latest trends in garden furniture are seeing both these elements combined, providing a sense of style, flexibility and inspiring design.

Roomy chairs and sofas are ideal for chilling out with guests post-dinner, with new seating arrangements offering the flexibility and comfort to make it possible to relax and eat supper in the same place.

Contemporary materials such as resin weave are continuing to be a big trend thanks to their hassle-free, low maintenance finish. While the weave is entirely practical for the British weather and is resistant to the elements, it still retains the classic style and look of natural wicker. The furniture is also strong and robust yet easy to move around thanks to its deceptively lightweight aluminium frames. Rust resistant, cast aluminium also continues to be a domineering garden furniture trend this year, making it ideal for the unpredictable British summers as it can be left out uncovered all year long.

The trend of mixing materials is one of the most effective ways to integrate indoor and outdoor living space in 2016. Consumers should look out for patio furniture and outdoor decorations that mix resin with wood, wood with iron or teak with stainless steel. Natural materials are also hot property, such as wood, copper, stone and wicker, which can be used for different design themes such as rustic, eco-friendly and vintage. This trend of mixing materials emerged last year, and has been growing significantly since, as homeowners embrace more of an eclectic ‘mish-mash’ of designs and move away from matching styles. Blending different colours and textures together to create a unique yet well-integrated design will inject an updated look and feel into patios during 2016.

Think Outside, think up cycled
Outdoor entertaining is becoming more and more a part of families’ lifestyles during the summer months, as Aaron Jackson from Think Outside confirmed: “We are definitely seeing greater demand for smaller outdoor furniture settings and we realise that our customers want a comfortable place to relax and entertain with family and friends, while still making a statement”, he said.

“We are just one design company that is trying to add to this experience by creating fun talking points that are not only inspired designs produced from up cycled materials, but also serve as functional pieces to add to the party. Our coolers have been especially popular for this.”

Pirate Furniture Set compressed
Brundle’s doing it for the kids
A range of durable fibreglass furniture sets aimed at the younger gardener have proved so popular that they have been extended by a leading garden centre supplier. Mushroom and animal-themed furniture, created for young garden lovers, was one of the success stories of 2015 for leading wholesaler Brundle Gardener with growing orders from garden centres and retailers alike.

This has prompted Brundle to extend the colourful and unique range to include a building block, circus and pirate furniture set.

Paul Smith, Business Manager at Brundle Gardener, said: “We were delighted with the success of the mushroom and animal furniture last year. Its popularity within garden centres proved that there is an appetite for products aimed at young gardeners”.

The furniture sets are made from tough, robust fibreglass and vibrant water-based colours.

Minster’s Moroccan accents
Minster Stylish Living has recognised the trend in the horticultural sector for sticking to ecological and sustainable planting schemes and paired that with its popular range of solid teak wooden furniture, including its wooden benches which are ready assembled for consumers. The addition of its Moroccan-inspired lanterns also gives an authentic atmosphere to any outdoor entertaining space.

Rebecca Guise at Minster Stylish Living commented: “As people begin to entertain more and more at home, the retailer now has a great opportunity to really inspire their customer to create a fantastic outdoor space with not only garden furniture, but also accessorising with textiles, lanterns and more.”


For more information, interviews or images please contact:
Kimberley Hornby, Glee PR Team, Hornby Whitefoot PR
Tel: 01858 681122 Email: