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As darkness descends on a brisk pandemic evening in Brooklyn, groups of park-goers are illuminated by a warm, soft glow — not from their phone screens, but instead the flames of portable campfires.
Portable fire pits and single-use campfires are cropping up everywhere from suburban backyards to urban green spaces, as Americans seek out ways to stay warm while socializing outside during the pandemic. With winter fast approaching, consumers are now recognizing the forthcoming barriers to gathering outside, prompting high demand for outdoor fire products at big-box retailers and e-commerce sites.
“There’s definitely been increased interest in anything that allows people to extend their outdoor time longer and longer,” said Peter Ryan, chief operating officer at Radiate Portable Campfire, a company that makes disposable campfires.
Unlike traditional clunky, cumbersome fire pits, Radiate is approximately the size of a cookie tin and casts a sizeable flame that gives off the warmth and ambiance of a small campfire. Seemingly a glorified candle in appearance, the single-use, disposable item creates a modified bonfire experience with the added bonus of minimal clean-up.
“It has a nice warm burn that makes it very easy to bring camping or if you’re having an impromptu get together, especially now that people are having so many outdoor events and it’s getting colder and colder, particularly in the Northeast,” Ryan said.
Radiate brand manager Sam Dicker said the company has experienced “very strong sales” during the pandemic, thanks in part to traction in major cities, though he did not specify exact figures. According to Jungle Scout data provided to Business Insider, however, orders of Radiate products on Amazon increased from 86 in June 2020 to more than 1,500 in October.
“The biggest shift we’ve seen is more sales to urban markets where people don’t necessarily have the space for a large patio with a firepit and Adirondack chairs,” Dicker said. “This is for someone who wants to be able to make that space on their own, but in a public space.”
Jon Merris — founder of Solo Stove, which sells a variety of camping stoves and portable fire pits at retailers like REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods — said his company experienced a noticeable a rise in sales at the onset of the pandemic, before peaking in June. Demand that month — which Merris described as already “really, really high” — doubled as a result of the pandemic.
“What we saw with COVID is that there was a huge spike in demand because people were stuck at home,” he said. “People were filling this gap where there was no real new content to watch on TV because even Hollywood was shut down. Eventually it was like, we’ve been binge-watched everything, what are we going to do now?”
Like Radiate, Solo Stove has also experienced increased interest in urban areas, Merris said.
“The suburbs were already pretty popular, but it’s been surprising to us how many new customers we’re seeing come out of the likes of New York City and Chicago and San Francisco and Atlanta — right …read more
Source:: Business Insider