Spring into the latest findings on consumers purchases for fences & decks.

May 18, 2018

Consumer Spending Trends in Outdoor Living Spaces

Now that spring is officially in the air – along with plenty of pollen – it’s time to share some of the findings from our 2018 Consumer Practices Survey (CPS) on outdoor living.

The CPS is a survey of 110,000 U.S. and Canadian households that tracks hundreds of remodeling activities and materials purchases. The results of this year’s survey are now being tabulated, allowing us to see how trends in repair and remodeling purchases and activities are unfolding.

We can see already that homeowners continue to spend money on improving their outdoor spaces. Looking at Fence and Deck materials from 2010 - 2017, modest change has been underway. The changes we’re seeing seem to correspond to fluctuations in raw materials prices, declining skilled labor availability, and homeowners’ desires for low-maintenance materials and privacy in their ever-expanding outdoor living areas. 

Fence Materials Installed on Existing Residential Properties

Source: Home Innovation's Annual Consumer Practices Survey


An analysis of this year’s survey findings shows wood fences are still most popular, representing 60% of new fence installed on existing properties and exhibiting a generally upward growth trend over the past seven years. The decline in market share in 2017 is probably related to increasing lumber prices during this period.

Vertical lumber board fences, generally used for privacy, have about half of the residential fence market. Lumber rail fences represent less than 10% of the residential market. The most rapidly growing category on a percentage basis is Plastic/PVC, which began the period (2010) with 8% share and end with 13% (in 2017). This has been supported by historically low raw materials prices—natural gas being the most important feedstock. With natural gas prices remaining low in the foreseeable future, and durability and low maintenance growing as important purchase factors, this materials category should continue to gain ground.
The CPS also revealed a few fence material categories losing ground over the period. Wire and chain link fences, generally made of steel, finished substantially down during this period. With the price of steel trending upward, it’s likely that share of this fence material will remain flat or decline. Concrete and masonry fence and privacy wall options, more popular in the Mountain and West states, are also in decline. While raw materials likely aren’t a major contributor to this decline, masonry fences are more labor-intensive than wood fences and require specific skilled labor to construct. The construction industry is experiencing a substantial skilled labor shortage, particularly in the masonry category, which will keep price pressure on this option.


The overall state of the market for Deck surfacing materials is not so different—treated lumber is still tops with about 50% of the market, ending about where it began during this time period. Untreated Lumber, usually cedar and redwood, saw growth early but declined later in the period to end down overall by a few percentage points. The Composite/Plastic category maintained nearly 20% over most of this period, ending about where it started. The remainder (“Others,” which includes metals and concrete/stone panels) was at less than 10% but saw substantial growth during this period.

Porch and Decking Materials Installed on Existing Residential Properties

Source: Home Innovation's Annual Consumer Practices Survey

For the future, Home Innovation’s Director of Market Research Ed Hudson anticipates Plastics and Composites will continue to gain popularity in both Decks and Fences. As the outdoor living industry innovates, he says to keep an eye on new Wood, Plastic, and Cement-based composite materials.

Top building product manufacturers have used Home Innovation's Consumer Practices Survey to quantify market demand and identify trends in the home remodeling market. The most current reports are now available for immediate delivery to manufacturers looking to position their products and materials optimally in today's ever-changing market. Get all the details on the product categories that are most important to your sales and marketing, including: 

Appliances | Bathroom Accessories | Cabinets for Kitchen & Bath
Countertops | Deck & Porch Railings | Exterior Doors
Faucets | Fencing & Landscape Walls | Fireplaces & Stoves
Finish Flooring | Garage Doors | Home Standby Generators
House Wrap & Foam under New Siding | Insulation | Interior Doors
Interior Finishes | Outdoor Structures | Patio Doors
Plumbing Fixtures | Plumbing Piping | Radiant Floor Heating
Roofing | Sheathing - Floor, Roof & Wall
Shutters & Exterior Trim | Siding & Exterior Cladding
Soffit & Fascia | Structural Systems - Floor, Roof & Wall | Windows

For more information these reports or to purchase, contact our market research team today.