Two thirds continue lockdown gardening hobby

Two thirds of the three million people who took up hobby gardening in 2020 have been retained, according to the Horticultural Trades Association’s November Market Update Report. Those that dropped off likely did so due to the reopening of travel, out-of-home leisure and a return to more typical working patterns.  

In June 2020, the HTA’s consumer tracker survey revealed that 64% of British adults said they used their gardens for growing plants, trees or flowers. When the survey was repeated in August 2021, the proportion of British adults growing plants, trees or flowers fell to 62%, which is around 700,000 fewer people. The largest decline came amongst the youngest age group, those aged 25-44, who are likely to be returning pre-pandemic habits for spending their leisure time.  

Despite the decrease in numbers of people gardening, garden centre sales are still up on both 2020 and 2019. Garden/gardening sales are up 55% on October 2019 and although non-gardening sales remain similar to October 2020, pet sales are up again, with an increase of 10% on October 2020. Catering sales were also down, with the ending of the temporary 5% VAT rate for hospitality, rising to 12.5% likely having an impact on sales figures. Still, there are promising increases in food/farm shop sales, which are up 23% on October 2020. 

The UK’s job market has reached a record high number of people on payroll and the UK’s unemployment rate currently sits at 4.5%, as of August 2021. Still, consumer confidence has decreased for a third consecutive month as consumers are faced with increased inflation and other economic issues affecting their financial stability. In fact, inflation has reached a 10-year high, largely driven by fuel and energy price hikes. Rising inflation impacts consumer confidence and willingness to spend on non-essentials as disposable incomes are squeezed.  

The major purchase index declined by 10 points from September to October, indicating that consumers will be more reluctant to spend in the months leading up to Christmas.  

HTA members can read the report here

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