The UK garden industry is well placed to be an engine of ‘green economic growth’ says the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) today (Friday), as it publishes positive industry monthly sales figures (up 25% v Sept 19) and a new consumer trend analysis report detailing changing consumer behaviours and how they’re here to stay. However, keeping garden centres open in the event of further restrictions is key to keeping this economic recovery and growth agenda and supporting physical and mental health wellbeing. 

The HTA’s Consumer Trends and the Opportunities for Garden Businesses post-COVID report shows how the nation has adjusted to steps taken by government to guide people through the pandemic, with concerns for health and wellbeing and high levels of anxiety seeing people wanting to reconnect with nature and personal connections with domestic gardens strengthened as consumers realise the benefits and relief they have provided during the crisis.  

As the pandemic continues to pose a threat, consumer desire to be more self-sufficient, to create ‘healthy habitats’ and make ‘green’ home improvements drives consumer attitudes and behaviour. 

 Looking to the Christmas period, the October Market Update also suggests potential after months of uncertainty. 

Garden centre sales show strong growth in September, with sales up 25% nationally compared with September 2019. This was driven by sales of garden/gardening categories, particularly plants, seeds, tools and equipment. Indoor living and homewares and gifting categories are up 16% and 8% respectively on September 2019.  

Christmas is the second busiest time of the year for garden centres and Christmas sales are 21% up on September 2019, indicating consumers are shopping early for Christmas. 

Together with data showing consumer confidence to visit garden centres remains high and around three quarters of British adults overall say they feel confident in visiting, the chances of the good Christmas people so desperately want and need look promising.

David Denny, HTA Futures and Sustainability Manager, comments: “Our Market Update report and new consumer trends report shows how the garden industry is well placed to lead the UK green economic recovery and growth agenda. From underpinning the Government’s ‘25 Year Environment Plan to contributing hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the British production supply chain, we are already seeing how British society attitudes and behaviours are changing to reconnect with outdoor spaces. 

“We are reminded however as the pandemic continues that this positive and opportune moment sits on fragile territory. Constant changes to restrictions by government mean that we must continue to do all we can to ensure garden centres and their associated hospitality offers can remain open, for example, and for retailers to reassure customers that the garden centre remains one of the safest and satisfying retail/leisure destinations, particularly as we approach the festive period.”

HTA Market Update and Trends & opportunities post-COVID are available free for members to download from the HTA website, by logging in and visiting the Market Update page and the Trends report page.

Sources: HTA Garden Retail Monitor, HTA Market Update October 2020, Trends & opportunities post-COVID - HTA Market Information October 2020

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