When it comes to fuel sources for grills, every type has it’s pros and cons. While technology is advancing, charcoal grills give great flavor but traditionally aren’t very convenient, pellet grills are very convenient but lack a little on flavor and are slow to heat up. That brings us to gas grills, which despite having less flavor, get hot really quick, which is probably why they’re the run away favorite type of grill in the U.S.
Despite the IPO of Blackstone griddles falling apart, they left us with some great market information. The chart above uses data from a Blackstone SEC filing and shows the US cooking market by fuel type.
Gas Grills Are America’s Favorite, but Declining
It used to be that for consumers there were really two choices when it came to grilling, either gas or charcoal. Most consumers chose gas at 60% of the market with 30% choosing charcoal.
That all changed in recent years with the popularity of pellet grills and even more recently with griddles. It’s caused a steep decline in gas and charcoal grills, with charcoal grills expected to lose half their share by 2023.
Gas grills are expected to retain their number one position in the market over the next few years, but can that change? Looking at the numbers it’s likely that charcoal grill market share is being eaten by pellet grills and the same is happening between griddles and gas grills. Even with the optimistic growth in griddles in Blackstone’s data, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll overtake gas grills in the near future.
Without major technological advancements, it would be hard for a pellet grill to replicate the quick, high heat cooking of a gas grill.
A wildcard for the market is the push into full-size electric grills. While they don’t get hot nearly as quickly as gas grills, they can get just as hot. If grill companies continue to invest in electric technology, or find a way to access 220v outlets, they could match the performance of a gas grill.
Bad News for Weber?
The two mainstays for Weber are gas and charcoal grills. They didn’t release a pellet grill until 2020 and it hasn’t seen the same popularity as other options like those from Traeger. While the overall grill market may continue to grow (ignoring the pandemic spike), if the gas and charcoal market share decreases at a faster rate, Weber could be the odd man out.