Study Says Designers Control the Outdoor Market
Mike Zimmerman -- Interior Design, 2/1/2013 2:00:00 AM
Interior Design's latest outdoor product survey reveals how designers tap into the potential of outdoor spaces. We strove for insights into the following: On any project, how involved are designers in specifying outdoor products? How much influence do they have on decisions? What kinds of products are designers specifying right now, from fabrics to lighting? And what resources do designers use to learn about available products? Research Results, an independent research firm, administered the survey for Interior Design. Nearly 500 people responded—and here's what they told us.
When it comes to calling the shots on specifying outdoor products on a project, designers are by far the final word (this is an important bit of info for product manufacturers, as you'll see later). According to the survey, 86 percent of designers have direct involvement in product choice. Also, designers recommend products at nearly twice the rate of clients and more than twice the rate as architects. With the average dollar value of outdoor products used reaching near $11 million annually per firm, that's a lot of designers deciding how a lot of dollars are spent.
So how does a designer decide which brands to choose on any given project? Well, it's not for lack of analysis (a designer considers an average of 4 brands of any product before choosing). But here's a big clue: This survey shows a huge connection between familiarity and choice. Specifically, if a designer is familiar with a brand, they tend to pick it. Click through below to see the manufacturers reported as most specified in each category:
Knowing that most outdoor space is designed for human interaction, the type of projects requiring outdoor products are not surprising: 63 percent of residential and 30 percent of hospitality and corporate projects include outdoor design. Whether it's for work or play, clients come together in these places. (Meanwhile, only 7 percent of government projects needed outdoor work).
When it comes to the factors most important to designers and their clients, durability and ease of maintenance/cleaning are big concerns. Designers value aesthetic appeal slightly more than their clients, but both want great value for the money. Comfort is 5th and 6th on the list for clients and designers, respectively.
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