How did garden centres around the world experience Covid-19?

DIDCOT, UK: UK Garden centre sales across gardening categories throughout June indicate a strong recovery, with figures up 34% on June 2019, counteracting lower non-gardening sales according to the latest HTA Market Update report. 

Recovery has been largely driven by exceptional gardening category sales as consumers spend more time in their gardens with growth in sales of garden plants, seeds, and gardening equipment as well as garden leisure categories.  Sales of outdoor containers were up 129% on June 2019, garden furniture up 101%, seeds up 93% and hardy plants, shrubs and trees were up 81%.  Non-gardening sales, such as catering have remained down.

The July issue of Market Update reports on garden centre sales in 2020 so far, following the lockdown measures imposed in March 2020, and subsequent re-opening of garden centres during May.

Whilst sales of bedding plants show strong growth compared to June of last year for retailers (up by 33%); our June survey of HTA member retailers revealed that 72% of retailers who sell bedding plants said they were currently unable to get the stock their business needs from UK growers. Half of those surveyed said they were importing more bedding plants than this time last year. This suggests that UK growers did not immediately benefit fully from the surge in consumer demand, with lockdown causing disruption and delays for stock production.

Pent up demand, the move away from cash to largely card only payments and consumers making larger purchases less often may have also had an impact on the average value of consumers’ spend, with average transaction values for garden store sales experiencing 61% growth at £36.91 June 2020 compared to £22.19 in June 2019. Consumers continue to make up for lost time and the extra time spent in the garden by stocking up on gardening supplies and higher priced items such as garden furniture and barbecues, and sales growth in these bigger ticket items has also been a factor in higher transaction values.

HTA Futures and Sustainability Manager David Denny comments “The warm weather and lockdown forcing consumers to spend more time at home has driven demand for gardening, garden projects and garden leisure. The garden has also become a ‘safe place’ for many to enjoy with family and friends in a socially-distanced way; and spending time outdoors is becoming increasingly recognised as beneficial to mental wellbeing – especially during these uncertain times.”

The July issue of Market Update also looks in detail at consumer confidence, the UK economy, vehicle fuel prices, weather, groundwater levels and gardening demand.

The national sales figures HTA reports each month come from the HTA Garden Retail Monitor (GRM) system where sales data from submitting garden centres is automatically uploaded to a secure server via their EPOS system.

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