The December edition of HTA Market Update, published this week, reveals that year to date garden centre sales are 5% ahead of 2012 (end of October). Sales have been ahead of 2012 levels since May with September figures 4% up and October 3% up. This is good news for a year which had a slow start due to the cold weather although comparative sales are still down by 3% on 2011.
Consumer confidence has risen significantly over the course of the year. Whilst this appears to have plateaued over the last two months it is still a positive sign for consumers and an indicator of potential increased willingness to spend. Business confidence too has improved with the score for garden retailers in Q3 higher than it has been at any point over the last two years.
There is more good news on the TV front as well with gardening set for greater exposure in the coming months and into 2014. BBC2?s 10 part series ?The Great British Garden Revival? starts on 9 December at 7pm. It aims to promote different aspects of gardening, and provide inspiration for viewers to try things like kitchen gardens or bedding plants.
Early in 2014 the BBC will also launch Grow, Make, Eat: The Great Allotment Challenge. This series, to be presented by Fern Britton, will take a Masterchef type of approach which will hopefully drive renewed consumer interest in grow your own.
ITV?s Love Your Garden, produced by Spun Gold, will also return in June 2014 and is keen to work with the industry closely to source products and share information about the content of each episode. There will be also be a further three part series looking at Great British Gardens, hosted by Alan Titchmarsh who will be celebrating his 50th year in horticulture in 2014.
HTA Chief Executive Carol Paris comments, ?It is hugely encouraging to see that garden retail businesses are feeling more confident undoubtedly driven by the strong end of the summer. With that in mind the industry has entered the Christmas period and the build up to the 2014 season on a more positive footing than a year ago. This will only be helped by the exciting news of more gardening on TV in 2014.?
The special feature in the December issue of Market Update looks at access to technologies and implications for the garden industry. Free to HTA members download your copy from the market information pages on the HTA website.