Britain’s love affair with gardens was confirmed this week as new research conducted by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) found that almost three million gardeners sprung up this year as a result of lockdown. A new younger face of gardening has also been identified with nearly half (49%) of the new green fingered fans aged under 45.
These new shoppers are identified as *‘Convenience Gardening’ and ‘Family Focus’ gardeners who are using their gardens as places to unwind and enjoy with the family and grow their own.
The HTA Garden Retail Monitor reports that sales of gardening products were up 34%, 17% and 19% in June, July and August respectively in UK garden centres, compared with the same period last year. Customers were spending more as Average Transaction Values increased by 35%. This was driven by spending on gardening projects and as consumers looked to make their gardens a place to enjoy with the family, in some cases as a ‘holiday at home’.
The strong performance reflects public confidence in garden centres as a safer place to visit. Consumer tracking by HTA at the start of September found that in relation to Covid-19, three quarters (75%) of people across all age groups were either ‘very confident’ or ‘confident’ in visiting a garden centre.
With many people working from home, on furlough or home-schooling children, there has been a considerable increase in garden centres sales during the week.
2020 has also seen a big upsurge in the proportion of people growing plants, trees and flowers as well as growing their own fruit and vegetables. Growth in August was driven by more people gardening and the increased leisure time spent in the garden; sales went up in bedding plants (29%), seeds (59%) and gardening equipment (51%) and garden leisure categories were higher than August 2019.
James Barnes, HTA Chairman said: “As a sector, horticulture has reacted quickly to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. Enormous effort has gone into providing safe retailing environments for customers inspired by lockdown to get into their gardens and HTA members responded very positively to the Safe Trading Guidance we provided.
“These strong figures suggest the action they took has helped a large proportion of the public to feel garden centres are safer places to visit. However, we know there continues to be challenges in the supply chain as well resulting from COVID lockdown and are working with Government on a horticulture strategy which better recognises the socio-economic and environmental benefits the industry brings”.