Patio heaters and fire pits are hot items this holiday season as homeowners rush to cold-proof their outdoor spaces in time for a COVID-19 winter.
Solo Stove said all of its smokeless backyard fire pits are on backorder until at least the first week of December. “We've consistently had stock-outs since the pandemic hit,” Solo Stove CEO John Merris told Yahoo Finance Live. “Currently, our most popular SKUs [stock keeping units] are on backorder, although they will be shipping around Black Friday. We're hopeful that we'll be able to fulfill all orders before Christmas.”
Business was already red hot at Southlake, Texas-based Solo Stove pre-COVID-19. The company, which also sells portable campfires, charcoal grills and accessories, was enjoying 100% year-over-year growth, but “when the pandemic hit, we saw an immediate acceleration of that growth,” said Merris. “We've been up over 300% this year since the pandemic hit.”
Merris said holiday shopping is happening earlier than ever. “We're seeing growth four or five times what we saw this time last year as we lead up to Black Friday.”
Consumers are hunkering down for what could be a long, cold, socially-distanced winter. Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW) said items such as patio heaters, fire pits and heat lamps have become increasingly popular. Target (TGT) recently introduced “thousands of new outdoor products” to its website, including heaters and dining and cooking products.
True Value Hardware, a wholesaler that supplies over 4,500 independently owned stores, said sales of vented tents are up 39% and wood-burning fire pits are up over 300% this fall compared to the same time last year.
Merris said sales have been strong both online and at retailers that sell its products, including Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) and REI, which said sales of outdoor fire products have grown six fold over the past year.
“We're seeing our products be a really nice safe haven for people,” said Merris. “When it’s getting a little bit cooler outside, being able to extend that living space and have a little bit more time outside is always just a nice blessing.”
Alexis Christoforous is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.