Despite a turbulent year for retail (and we really mourn the losses in the High St), Garden Centres, like the Grocers, found very positive growth driven by the stay at home diktat. A couple of years back, UK consumers spent circa £7.5 billion on products for their gardens. A staggering £2.4 billion hiring someone else to do the work!
As we hunkered down and dug in last year, a Good Life/Dig for Victory mentality blossomed. UK Garden Centres reported an overall sales growth of 16% in July 2020. Suttons reported up to 20 times higher sales than equivalent days in previous years. Bearing in mind the usual cash cow of the restaurants were closed, this was all driven by garden sundries (+49%). Garden furniture and barbecues also increased (+44%) and outdoor plants (+33%). With trips to the garden centre being a bit of a treat last year with the weather on our side, the spend per visit spend rose by 18%.
Growth in 2021
With the likelihood of many consumers realising the joy of gardening and reaping the benefits of growing your own veg’, for the first time in 2020 the experts at Gardenforum are predicting a bumper year for the Garden Centres in 2021. That’s not to say it is all plain sailing from here on out. Supply chains have been adversely affected by our recent departure from the EU; with certain shifts of manufacturing emphasis in support of the pharmaceutical demand. However all the Garden Centres are well prepared; reporting larger stock holding as the season opens, with Hillier’s stating: “We have been building stocks ahead of season, well above our normal levels”. Others also believe 2021 could be better than average as long as Garden Centres remain open. “We can already see since the new year customer spend has remained high and good interest in core gardening.”
The COVID Question Hits Garden Centres
The question still in debate is whether the COVID effect on uplift in garden sales will be sustained long term. Albeit, against their will, many consumers found great value and comfort at home tending their veg’, not burning their skin in Benidorm. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) thinks a lot of these new gardeners will be here to stay. Heralding, a “new golden age” for horticulture; a much bigger one, and embracing a far more diverse influx of new gardeners. This is similarly reflected in the Garden Centre’s optimism as many have increased stock levels higher than usual in readiness for the coming season.
Ultimately, based on garden centres’ optimism and projections for 2021, it would appear that the increased popularity in gardening; from both long term gardeners and individuals trying their hand at it, figures are set to increase this coming season.
eXPD8 already supports a number of clients in UK Garden Centres, providing retail support and stock data with accessories and gifting. If you want to bring your brand to the garden party, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to discussing your options!