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2013 State of the Barbecue Industry Report

State of the Barbecue Industry Report

The barbecue industry had another strong year in 2012, with shipments of grills and smokers reaching more than 14.3 million, a slight decrease (2.66%) from 2011. Gas grills continue to top the charts as the most popular type of grill, followed by charcoal and electric.

  • Total Gas Grill Shipments (57 percent) – 8,200,000
  • Total Charcoal Grill Shipments (41 percent) – 5,917,000
  • Total Electric Grill Shipments (2 percent) – 280,000

To capture consumer trends around grilling and barbecuing, every two years since 1983, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) conducts the HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Study*. Following are key highlights from the most recent 2011 study fielded in July 2011:

Reigniting the Spark: Outdoor Cooking on the Rise

  • The majority of grill owners use their grills year-round (62 percent), an increase of six percentage points from 2009.
  • Nearly all (99 percent) of grill owners used their grill in the past year, an increase of two percentage points since 2009.
  • Eighty-six percent of households own an outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker, a four point increase from 2009.
  • Sixty-nine percent of households that own a grill own a gas grill, followed by charcoal (47 percent) and electric (7 percent).
  • More than half (54 percent) of grill purchasers bought a replacement grill and 68% of those purchasers replaced their grill with the same type of grill 

Grill Usage: Consumers Love to Grill

  • Traditional summer holidays top the list of the most popular grilling holidays: the Fourth of July (77 percent), Memorial Day (62 percent) and Labor Day (60 percent).
  • Grilling Thanksgiving meals outdoors is increasingly popular among charcoal grill owners, up six percentage points since 2009 (15 percent).
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of grill owners see their outdoor grilling area as a functional cooking area of their home, while nearly a quarter (23%) see it as a place to rest and relax and 29% view it as an entertainment area.
  • Forty percent of consumers have a large moveable grill system on a modest patio/deck, with some outdoor furniture and an informal place to eat.
  • Consumers say an easy ignition system (58 percent) and large grilling surface (53 percent) are the most important features of a gas grill, followed by ease of cleaning (39 percent), ability to heat up quickly (37 percent) and temp gauge/heat indicator (31 percent).
  • Among all grill owners, the most popular utensils are long-handled tongs (72 percent), grill-cleaning brushes (68 percent), long-handled fork (60 percent) and long-handled spatulas (54 percent).
  • Gas and charcoal grill owners view color of grill as a major factor in a purchasing decision, with 27 percent and 32 percent respectively, a ten and nine point increase respectively from 2009.
  • When entertaining and cooking outside, electric grill owners use their grill an average of 14 times a year, charcoal grill owners 13 times a year and gas grill owners 12 times a year

Tasty Trends: It’s All About the Meat

  • Meats, including burgers (84 percent), steak (83 percent), hot dogs (82 percent) and chicken parts (74 percent), top the list of the most popular foods prepared using a grill.
  • Grill owners believe food cooked on their grills rather than their ovens is more healthful (38 percent), an increase of five points from 2009.
  • Three out of four consumers who cook on a charcoal grill (75 percent) normally use barbecue sauce for basting during cooking.
  • Dry meat rubs remain popular among consumers. In fact, dry rub usage has increased among all grill owners to 21 percent in 2011, from 14 percent in 2009.

Household Roles: Male or Female, Everybody Grills

  • The male head (63 percent) most often makes the decision to cook, lights the grill (77 percent) and cooks (72 percent) on the charcoal/wood grills.
  • Whether male or female, the primary grillers in seven out of ten households consider themselves to be extremely proficient or better than average.
  • Across the board, males are most likely to make the decision to purchase a grill (69 percent), up two percent from 2009.

HPBA State of the Barbecue Industry Report

This research was conducted online via The Stevenson Company in July 2011. The sample size included households assembled to be representative of the latest U.S. Census in terms of geography, age of head of household, market size, annual household income and household size. All respondents are 18+ years old.

About the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories.  The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education. There are more than 2,300 members in the HPBA.

*Use of the HPBA State of the Barbecue Industry Report findings should be credited to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Visit for additional information.



Sue Crosby

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

703-522-0086, ext.116


Carrie Ziskind



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