March kicked off with two pool and spa and outdoor living events for industry pros—the Hearth, Patio & BBQ Expo, which ran March 2-5 in Atlanta and Everything Under the Sun, which took place March 4-5 in Orlando.
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor/outdoor living showcase. Every year, more than 300 leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers exhibit and demonstrate their latest home heating solutions; grills, grilling accessories, and fully-equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture, billiards and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more.
“It’s an exciting time to be in this industry, illustrated by attendance here being just as strong as our last live show two years ago," said Jack Goldman, president and CEO of Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. “It’s also the most ideal moment to benchmark what we see are the top trends taking shape for the grilling, backyard and fireplace industries for 2022 and beyond."
The show attracts more than 5,000 specialty and mass-market retailers, installing distributors, builders and remodelers, HVAC service contractors, LP and hardware dealers and professionals
At the HBPExpo, attendees were able to join more than 30 expert-led education and training sessions, network, view live product demos and more.
Organizers also debuted the HPB Recreation Square, an ancillary marketplace on the expo floor with new complementary product categories.
The industry’s latest innovations in multi-functional furniture, barbecue technology and hearth and patio-heating equipment were on display in the exhibit hall and New Product Pavilion inside the Georgia World Congress Center.
According to HPBA, manufacturers are both increasing and decreasing the size and scope of their hearth, patio and barbecue purchases as they both invest more in their homes and plan for more travel in the months and years ahead.
Author and consumer expert Bridget Brennan, CEO and founder of Female Factor, delivered the keynote: "Welcome to the Hybrid Life: New Consumer Behaviors that are Changing Everything."
In her keynote, Brennan, the author of "Winning Her Business and Why She Buys," delivered insights on the cultural shifts that are driving changes in the way consumers live, work and buy.
Napoleon Products held a guest panel and reception. At the panel, the company revealed research that quantifies fire’s impact on health and wellness.
HBPA affiliates also held receptions.
Some takeaways from the show:
- While grill sales and usage remain at all-time highs, customers are expanding their patio vision to incorporate full backyard kitchens, including premium counters, refrigerators, grills, smokers, stovetops and even the kitchen sink. “After two years spent at home more than ever, consumers recognize the opportunities a fully functioning backyard can bring, and are responding by not just updating their grill, but also going all in on a full kitchen,” Goldman noted.
- The newest lines of backyard patio furniture are looking more and more like indoor furniture—sleek, modern and minimalist. “Gone are the bulky benches and puffy cushions of the past,” Goldman said. “Consumers continue to view their backyard patio as an extra, extended room to their house, and the design patterns of that outdoor room are beginning to mirror the indoor.”
Next year's show will take place March 10-13 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
Everything Under the Sun
The Everything Under the Sun Expo celebrated its 50th anniversary. It started in 1972 as a small tabletop event called the Florida Pool Show.
An awards ceremony and welcome party took place on March 3.
Attendees were able to take part in many educational sessions, including continuing education and GENESIS courses, as well as learning labs.
To help celebrate the milestone show, a Friday night party featuring live music was held at Howl at the Moon.
According to organizers, 96% of attendees work in the residential sector. Sixty-five percent are specifically in service/maintenance. The pool service industry is estimated at $5.9 billion.
"ProValet.io was made to feel an important and meaningful participant of FSPA’s Everything Under The Sun Expo in Orlando," said Peter Wasmer, president and CEO of Pure Coastal Technologies Inc., which unveiled the latest version of its ProValet.io 2.0 mobile platform at the event. "The FSPA team delivered on the promise of connecting industry participants in a professional, well-organized manner.
"We were particularly pleased by the reception from pool service company owners and managers who offered excellent interaction by giving us a better understanding of their needs through face-to-face conversations. Plus, a handshake and eye-to-eye contact beat a ZOOM meeting any day!" he added.