2022 STATE OF THE BARBECUE INDUSTRY > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
March 25, 2022


Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Releases Biennial Consumer Research; Finds Sales and Usage are at All-Time Highs


According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)’s latest consumer research, grill sales and grilling out are at or near all-time highs.

In the most recent edition of its biennial State of the Barbecue Industry Report, 80% of all homeowners and 70% of all households in the U.S. own at least a grill or smoker, matching the highest percentage in the study’s history, up from 64% household ownership in 2019. In Canada, 70% of households own a grill, consistent with the last survey.

In addition, a full 38% of all grill owners purchased a new grill in the past two years. Of those who purchased in the last year, 27% did so because “they were cooking at home more due to the pandemic.”

“Over the past two years, the industry had the impression that grill and smoker purchases and backyard grilling were at all-time highs, driven by people spending more time at home and changing their overall habits,” said Jack Goldman, president and CEO, HPBA. “Now, with the first industry-wide study conducted since the pandemic took hold, we have a clear picture of how much the pastime of grilling has grown, and we’re finding it’s at near record levels.”

Charcoal Strikes Back

According to the study, much of the growth came from charcoal grill purchases. In 2019, they represented 49% of ownership. In 2021, they jumped to 65%. Gas maintained the high position it’s held for many years at 63%.

“Gas grills remain the most consistently popular type of grill, but the data indicate that, as consumers added more grills to their backyard patios, charcoal was their top choice,” Goldman noted. “In addition, we see wood pellet ownership increasing three-fold in the past two years, from 3% of all grill owners to a considerable 9%. These huge gains in both charcoal and pellet grills indicate that consumers, for the first time in a while, had more time at home and turned to slower, more leisurely cooking techniques.”

Breakfast and Winter Grilling Rises – Traditional Holidays Declined

Grilling isn’t just for dinner anymore. Throughout the pandemic, 12% grilled for brunch and 7% for breakfast, showing that consumers expanded their grilling expertise while home more.

Conversely, consumers grilled less on traditional summer holidays than in prior years. This past Fourth of July, 54% of owners grilled out, down from 68% in the prior study. Labor Day (47%), Memorial Day (44%) and Father’s Day (34%) all saw minor declines.

“This likely was due to fewer gatherings over the holidays than in pre-pandemic years,” Goldman noted. “Yet while traditional holidays declined, grilling during cold weather events increased across the board, as people likely stayed closer to home for events that otherwise would have found them away.”

Grilling on Thanksgiving (20%), Valentine’s Day (14%), New Year’s Day (14%) and Christmas or Hanukkah (11%) increased over recent years. In addition, nearly 30% of grill owners cooked out for the Super Bowl.

Reasons for Grilling Remain

Despite shifts in when and how much people are grilling and with whom, the top five reasons for grilling have remain unchanged since the most recent study:

  • 57% of owners did it for the flavor
  • 40% for the lifestyle
  • 33% entertainment
  • 29% convenience
  • 23% hobby

The HPBA State of the Barbecue Industry Report was conducted online via Rockbridge Associates Inc. in September 2021. Rockbridge conducted a 15-minute online survey from a panel of grillers who were at least 18 and were either the primary griller or shared grilling responsibilities. The margin of sampling error for aggregate results is +/- 2%, and the consumer sample was representative of the U.S. and Canadian populations respectively. 

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 barbecue, patio and hearth appliances, fuels and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education.

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