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Garden Products Retailing - UK - June 2019

Covered in this report

There is a very broad definition of gardening used in this report, covering everything from growing stock, gardening tools and sundries to those consumer products bought for the garden such as furniture, barbecues and sheds. The main categories and their broad definitions break down as follows:

  • Growing stock – plants, shrubs, trees, bulbs, seeds
  • Gardening equipment – lawnmowers, other power tools, hand tools, irrigation equipment
  • Garden buildings – conservatories, sheds, greenhouses
  • Garden chemicals and growing media – compost, peat, chippings, fertiliser, pesticides, weed killers
  • Garden furniture and barbecues – furniture, parasols, patio heaters, cushions, barbecues
  • Enhancement features and sundries – statuary, aggregates, etc

The report also makes reference to other products stocked and services provided by garden retailers (such as Christmas decorations, pets and cafés) to develop footfall and counteract the inherent problems of seasonality in gardening.

“The garden centre sector has seen a huge change in 2018-19 as the largest specialist chain, Wyevale, has been broken up and stores sold to a variety of buyers.  As a result, Dobbies has bought a large number of garden centres and jumped into first place as the largest specialist chain. Many other groups have also been transformed in scale by acquiring stores from Wyevale.

DIY chains are significant players in garden products but the sector has had its difficulties.  Homebase has been through turmoil under the ownership of Wesfarmers, which, after two years decided to sell it to a new owner, Hilco Capital, which has since been restoring order and rebuilding the slimmed-down chain’s strengths, including reinvesting in garden areas. B&Q has also sold off excess outlets over recent years and has been building its own-label ranges, as well as making gardening more accessible to novice gardeners.  

Newer competitors the Range and B&M have taken the opportunity to accelerate their store expansion programmes, by buying up some former DIY sites. B&M now has 157 stores with outdoor garden departments, making it a substantial player in garden product retailing, and is differentiated from most competitors by focusing on lower prices.”

–    Jane Westgarth, Senior Retail Analyst

This report will look at the following areas:

  • Is the trend for private renting depressing demand for gardening?
  • How will online retailing of garden products develop?
  • After the sweeping changes of 2018-19 – which garden centre groups have benefited?

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Outdoor living continues to stimulate demand
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on garden products, 2014-24
            • Garden plants account for 31% of spending
              • Figure 2: Garden market segmentation, broad segments, 2018 (est)
            • Outdoor living drives demand
              • Companies and brands
                • Figure 3: Distribution of garden products, by type of retailer, 2013 and 2018 (est)
              • Dobbies, Blue Diamond and many others buy stores from Wyevale
                • Dobbies has raised standards
                  • Destination leisure developments
                    • DIY chains slimmer but fitter
                      • B&Q has a four-stage garden strategy
                        • Homebase is reviving its strengths in gardening
                          • The consumer
                            • 87% of households have a garden or outside space
                              • Figure 4: Presence of gardens, balconies and allotments, April 2019
                            • 78% bought garden products in the last year
                              • Figure 5: Purchases for gardens and outside spaces, April 2019
                            • 18% agree they are doing more shopping online
                              • Figure 6: Trend for spending in-store or online, April 2019
                            • 40% shopped at garden centres
                              • Figure 7: Retailers used for garden products, April 2019
                            • Plant quality and choice are the most influential factors in shaping choice of retailer
                              • Figure 8: Factors influencing choice of retailer, April 2019
                            • 41% browse online for ideas
                              • Figure 9: Shopping behaviour for garden products, April 2019
                            • People associate gardens with relaxing
                              • Figure 10: Attitudes towards gardens, leisure time in the garden, April 2019
                            • 65% agree that gardening is enjoyable
                              • Figure 11: Attitudes towards gardens, tending the garden, April 2019
                            • People think home-grown vegetables are healthier
                              • Figure 12: Attitudes towards gardens, garden plants, chemicals and GYO, April 2019
                            • 75% agree that gardening is a valuable education for children
                              • Figure 13: Attitudes towards gardens, children and gardens, April 2019
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • Is the trend for private renting depressing demand for gardening?
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • How will online retailing of garden products develop?
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • After the sweeping changes of 2018-19 – which garden centre groups have benefited?
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Use of the garden as an outside room drives market growth
                                                  • Garden plants account for 31% of spending
                                                    • Garden centres gained market share over 2013-18
                                                      • 87% of households have access to gardens, balconies or allotments
                                                        • More hard standing in London’s gardens
                                                          • Over 1 million allotments in the UK
                                                            • 4.6% growth in number of households
                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                              • Outdoor living continues to stimulate demand
                                                                • Figure 14: Consumer spending on garden products, 2014-24
                                                              • 3% growth over 2019-24, excluding inflation
                                                                • Figure 15: Consumer spending on garden products, 2014-24
                                                              • Forecast methodology
                                                              • Market Segmentation

                                                                • Garden plants account for 31% of spending
                                                                  • Figure 16: Garden market segmentation, broad segments, 2018 (est)
                                                                • Outdoor living drives demand
                                                                  • Figure 17: Consumer spending on garden products, by market segment, 2017-19 (est)
                                                                • Retail standards are improving
                                                                  • People like rapid results
                                                                    • Grow-your-own has plateaued
                                                                      • Trend to outdoor living
                                                                        • Demand for garden chemicals depends on prevailing conditions
                                                                          • Intelligent mowing poised to take off
                                                                            • More living space in the garden
                                                                              • Encouraging birds and insects
                                                                              • Channels to Market

                                                                                • Garden centres have gained share of garden product retailing
                                                                                  • Figure 18: Distribution of garden products, by type of retailer, 2013 and 2018 (est)
                                                                                • 27% bought garden goods online
                                                                                  • Figure 19: Homewares purchased online in the last year, garden goods, September 2018
                                                                                • Garden centres most important sector
                                                                                  • Many retailers sell garden furniture and barbecues online
                                                                                    • Supermarkets capitalise on their high footfall
                                                                                      • Price becomes a key marketing message as B&M expands
                                                                                        • Argos has better visibility as more stores open within Sainsbury’s supermarkets
                                                                                          • Dunelm and other general retailers address the garden market
                                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                                            • 87% of households have access to gardens, balconies or allotments
                                                                                              • Help to Buy means younger purchasers are attracted to new-build homes
                                                                                                • More hard standing in London’s gardens
                                                                                                  • Over 1 million allotments in the UK
                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Presence of gardens, balconies and allotments, 2017-19
                                                                                                  • Growth in number of households
                                                                                                    • Figure 21: UK households by size, 2012-22
                                                                                                  • 39% agree that gardening is a favourite pastime
                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Attitudes towards gardening, November 2018
                                                                                                  • Enthusiasm for gardening increases with age
                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Attitudes towards gardening, by age, November 2018
                                                                                                  • First-time buyers are older
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Percentage of households who own their own home, by age, 1997-2017
                                                                                                  • 7.6% more adults aged 55+ by 2023
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2013-23
                                                                                                  • Over-55s take pleasure from gardening
                                                                                                    • Grandparents occupied with child care
                                                                                                      • Accessible gardening for the elderly
                                                                                                        • Today’s private renters are not into gardening
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Tenure, by age group, 2019
                                                                                                        • Interest in organic foods and clean eating illustrate potential for GYO
                                                                                                          • Popularity of cocktails drives demand for herbs
                                                                                                            • Television gardening programmes influence styles
                                                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                              • Dobbies, Blue Diamond and many others buy stores from Wyevale
                                                                                                                • Dobbies has raised standards
                                                                                                                  • Destination leisure developments
                                                                                                                    • DIY chains slimmer but fitter
                                                                                                                      • B&Q has a four-stage garden strategy
                                                                                                                        • Homebase is reviving its strengths in gardening
                                                                                                                          • Changes at the DIY chains
                                                                                                                            • Value retailers grow presence in garden retailing
                                                                                                                              • Disruption among retailers led to a drop in adspend
                                                                                                                              • Companies and Brands

                                                                                                                                • The garden centre sector before the Wyevale sell-off
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Garden centre retailers, turnover (excl VAT), 2013-17
                                                                                                                                • Blue Diamond generates strong gains in 2018 helped by contribution from refits and nine former Wyevale stores
                                                                                                                                  • Significant variation in turnover per store
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Garden centre retailers, turnover per store, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                  • Wide variation in profitability
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Garden centre retailers, operating profit, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                  • Klondyke has enviable operating margins
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Garden centre retailers, operating margin, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                  • The break-up of Wyevale dramatically reshapes the garden centre sector
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Garden centre retailers, turnover, store numbers and turnover per outlet, before and after the Wyevale sales, estimated and annualised, 2017 and 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Dobbies has bought 37 Wyevale outlets
                                                                                                                                    • Blue Diamond and Hillier transformed by purchasing Wyevale outlets
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Garden centres, store numbers, 2013-19
                                                                                                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                                                                                                    • Dobbies has raised standards
                                                                                                                                      • Blue Diamond continues to develop its Redfields blueprint
                                                                                                                                        • Destination leisure developments
                                                                                                                                          • Refurbishment activity
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Notcutts, Booker store refit, 2019
                                                                                                                                          • DIY chains slimmer but fitter
                                                                                                                                            • B&Q has a four-stage garden strategy
                                                                                                                                              • Homebase is reviving its strengths in gardening
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Homebase, display of plants for immediate impact, 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Space Allocation Summary

                                                                                                                                                • Garden centres outdoor space allocation overview
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Garden centres estimated outdoor garden space allocation, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Garden centres indoor space allocation overview
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Blue Diamond, Weybridge, fashion
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Garden centres estimated indoor garden space allocation, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Non-specialists outdoor space allocation overview
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Non-specialists estimated outdoor garden space allocation, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Non-specialists indoor space allocation overview
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Non-specialists estimated outdoor garden space allocation, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Detailed space allocation
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Garden products retailers estimated detailed space allocation as a percentage of total floor space, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                • B&Q opens pilot ‘local home improvement store’
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: GoodHome by B&Q, Wallington, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Wickes moves into ‘instant’ gardening
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Wickes, Instant gardening, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Sustainable gardening developments
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: IKEA show garden at Chelsea Flower Show, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Developing online services
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: SmartPlant, image, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Value retailers grow their presence in gardening
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: One Below, 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                • Dip in advertising in 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on garden products and retailing, 2015-18
                                                                                                                                                • Dobbies increased adspend in 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on garden products and retailing, top 20, 2015-18
                                                                                                                                                • TV and press are the most popular media
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on garden products and retailing, by media type, 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Garden retailers lost share of spending in 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on garden products and retailing , by category, 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Advertising specifics
                                                                                                                                                  • B&Q’s 2017-18 campaign featured an easy garden transformation
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: B&Q television advert, 2017-18
                                                                                                                                                  • B&Q features click-and-collect in its 2019 garden advert
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: B&Q television advert, 2017-18
                                                                                                                                                  • Dobbies continues with its cute reindeer theme
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Dobbies, television advert, 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Homebase emphasises everything for the garden
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Homebase, image from animated pattern created by garden goods, 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                    • 87% of households have a garden or outside space
                                                                                                                                                      • Older bias to purchasers of gardening goods
                                                                                                                                                        • 18% agree they are doing more shopping online
                                                                                                                                                          • Garden centres appeal to age 55+
                                                                                                                                                            • People choose retailers based on quality of plants
                                                                                                                                                              • The internet is an integral part of the shopping process
                                                                                                                                                                • Gardens are relaxing places for leisure time
                                                                                                                                                                  • GYO is healthier
                                                                                                                                                                    • Children benefit from gardens
                                                                                                                                                                    • Gardens and Outside Spaces

                                                                                                                                                                      • 87% of households have a garden or outside space
                                                                                                                                                                        • Catering for the tiny space gardener
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Presence of gardens, balconies and allotments, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Owner-occupiers most likely to have gardens
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Presence of gardens, balconies and allotments, by household tenure, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                      • Purchases for Gardens and Outside Spaces

                                                                                                                                                                        • Older bias to purchasers of gardening goods
                                                                                                                                                                          • Gardening tools bought throughout the age groups
                                                                                                                                                                            • Younger shoppers are most engaged with buying furniture and decor
                                                                                                                                                                              • Non-buyers are typically least well-off and in the 35-54 age band
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Purchases for gardens and outside spaces, net, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Plants top the list of goods purchased
                                                                                                                                                                                • 16-24s are core audience for barbecues
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Purchases for gardens and outside spaces, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Online Shopping Trends for the Garden

                                                                                                                                                                                • 18% agree they are doing more shopping online
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Trend for spending in-store or online, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                • 16-34s are doing more online shopping for the garden
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Spending more online, by age, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Retailers Used for Garden Products

                                                                                                                                                                                • 40% shopped at garden centres
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Retailers used for garden products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Factors Influencing Choice of Retailer

                                                                                                                                                                                • Plant quality and choice are the most influential factors in shaping choice of retailer
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Convenience is a significant factor
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Creating a leisure experience
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Factors influencing choice of retailer, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Shopping Behaviour for Garden Products

                                                                                                                                                                                    • 41% browse online for ideas
                                                                                                                                                                                      • 11% posted garden images on social media
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Loyalty cards used by 24% of shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Face-to-face advice encourages store visits
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Help with visualising the end result
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Shopping behaviour for garden products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Gardens

                                                                                                                                                                                            • People associate gardens with relaxation
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Attitudes towards gardens, leisure time in the garden, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • 65% agree that gardening is enjoyable
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Taking pride in the garden
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Attitudes regarding gardens, tending the garden, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • People think home-grown vegetables are healthier
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Protecting the environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Attitudes regarding gardens, garden plants, chemicals and GYO, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • 75% agree that gardening is a valuable education for children
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Attitudes regarding gardens, children and gardens, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Garden Products Retailing - UK - June 2019

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