Outdoor furniture retailer Agio International (AI) debuted its 2019 collection at Winter Market, seven to eight months earlier than expected by industry standards.

“We are looking to change the patio buying season,” says AI VP/Sales Mike Gaylord, adding the shift leads to better collaboration between retailers and manufacturers. “By starting the process earlier, our buyers can get a preview of things that they wouldn’t otherwise see until July or August and give us immediate feedback. This gives us the opportunity to make sure we have everything right for them to be ultimately successful at retail.”

Gaylord spoke with other leading industry executives at a Las Vegas Market-hosted leadership discussion regarding the current introduction cycle. Participants voiced concerns that debuting collections in the summer and taking orders through mid-October creates a very small, and sometimes challenging, shipping window. As the outdoor industry grows and becomes more customized, manufacturers need more lead time to “fulfill orders and ensure successful sales,” he explains.

Following the Las Vegas Market 2015 launch of two floors entirely dedicated to casual/outdoor products, the category has rapidly expanded to encompass a wide range of products and leading brands. Corresponding buyer interest has also reportedly spiked.

“This is our third year showing at Las Vegas Market and we have noticed a steady increase in traffic as the outdoor furniture category becomes more important to indoor furniture buyers,” says Terri Lee Rogers, VP/Sales & Marketing for OW Lee. “This winter, we even saw buyers from Mexico and South America.”

Winter Market featured a varied and fashion-forward assortment of new products. AI unveiled Mid-Century Modern interpretations and new wicker looks. Other innovative product introductions included the sophisticated Onyx Collection from Panama Jack by Pelican Reef; the solid wood Adellaide pergola from European Garden Living; the Nexus daybed from Skyline Design; conversation sets by Vivere; Mid-Century Modern fire pits from Plank & Hide; and the Milano acrylic rope chair from Sunset West.

“As the leading furniture, home decor, and gift destination in the U.S., Las Vegas Market is committed to working with industry leaders on programs that make the most sense for their businesses,” says Scott Eckman, President of Furniture & Home Décor Leasing, adding the success of casual/outdoor furnishings at Winter Market bodes well for continued category expansion at the Summer 2018 Market and beyond. “Looking ahead, Las Vegas Market expects to continue substantial momentum in this category, as well as throughout the furniture, gift and home décor segments, which will in turn dramatically spark gains in buyer interest and attendance.”