Patio furniture in high demand, low supply as summer heats up

As Minnesotans enjoy an exceptionally warm and sunny start to summer, those in the market for new patio furniture will likely find themselves waiting months for delivery.

At Yardbird in St. Louis Park, sets that used to be delivered in less than six weeks may now take up to 16 weeks. At big box retailers, it could take even longer.

"This year, knowing this delay. We had to order sooner, ship sooner, try to compensate for this, but at that point it becomes somewhat of a guessing game," said co-founder of Yardbird Bob Dillon.

With consumers spending more time at home during COVID-19 related lockdowns, patio furniture has been in high demand. While retailers are still catching up from the surge in buying, they’re also being hit by supply chain issues.

"There is a global shortage of shipping containers," said University of St. Thomas supply chain professor Kyle Goldschmidt. "They really haven’t gone anywhere, it’s just that the empty containers can’t get to the right location at the right time. And that’s what supply chain is all about - having the right product, at the right place, at the right time."

Dillon says because they are a direct-to-consumer business they can track the shipping containers and control deliveries a little better than others, but it’s still been a challenge.

"Customers are usually pretty understanding," he said.

And while it’s disappointing for those trying to get outdoor furniture before summer is over, the fact that Americans are spending is a good sign for the economy.

"You have a lot of people who have money they haven’t spent in the past year sitting around that they’re willing to spend on products that they might have not otherwise," said Goldschmidt.