The Horticultural Trades Association’s latest Market Update suggests it is definitely not too early to start thinking about Christmas. 

The report indicates that 14% of 45–64-year-olds will begin planning for Christmas purchases from September onwards. Christmas is a special event to many and after last year’s lockdown prevented people from participating in their usual Christmas traditions many will be planning larger celebrations for 2021 to make up for that. 

With 78.9% of the UK population now fully vaccinated, there will likely be a boost in holiday events and in-person shopping this year. Confidence to visit both garden centres and their cafes/restaurants is at the highest it’s been since the pandemic began, with only 5% of consumers feeling uncomfortable with visiting garden centres.  

In addition, research by YouGov revealed that 30% of consumers claim they will be spending more this Christmas than last year indicating that with more future planning and bigger budgets – this Christmas will be a bigger event for many. Retailers preparing early for these Christmas shoppers could capture the early demand. 

Nationally, overall garden centre sales in August were level with August 2020, but 28% up on August 2019. 

Catering sales were down 5% overall for the month of August compared to the same month in 2020 when the government ran the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but OpenTable reports that the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners in the last week of August was 156% of the level seen in the equivalent week in 2019, so businesses might do well to prepare for more patrons in their on-site catering facilities in the months to come.  

The unemployment rate is also decreasing, currently standing at 4.7%, which shows positive signs for the economy recovering to pre-pandemic levels.  

Members can access the report here: 

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