According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), due to inclement weather and economic worries, 2003 grill sales were 7 percent lower, with 14 million grills sold in the U.S., compared with 2002 sales.
"We feel confident 2004 will bring back the 7 percent and then some," said Don Crace, president of Cowboy Charcoal and HPBA barbecue caucus chair. "General economic conditions are clearly on the upswing, new home construction shows up more porches, patios, and decks than ever, second home ownership remains on track to double by 2010, and the amount of money U.S. homeowners spent on exterior remodeling and renovation increased again in 2002 to U.S. $170 billion. That all speaks to the consumer need for more grills, outdoor furnishings, and hearth products."
In 2003, market share for gas grills was 60 percent, down 3 percent from 2002, while charcoal grills were only down slightly at 5.3 million shipments. Electric grill sales increased 20 percent as sales grew to 293,000, as fuel sales including charcoal briquet, natural lump charcoal, and flavored wood chips and chunks also grew.
"Industry research estimates literally billions of meals are cooked outdoors annually in the U.S.," said Mr. Crace. "Barbecuing is the mainstay of the backyard and our outdoor lifestyle. With the improving economy, we expect to see grill shipments back above 15 million again."
Barbecue grills account for an estimated U.S. $2 billion in annual retail sales, with sales of fuels, accessories, and related equipment accounting for $1 billion.
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