Covid turns Brits into a nation of Monty Don wannabes

gardenThe rise of green-fingered consumers appears to be as perennial as the pansy, peony and periwinkle, as Brits’ passion for their gardens has blossomed over the past two years, with over two in five (43%) people reporting using their outdoor space more now than before the pandemic.

As the UK rapidly approaches the spring bank holidays, new research from eBay Ads UK reveals that consumers’ newfound relationship for their ‘small outdoors’ is set to continue, spelling a lucrative season for home and garden retailers as the Early May Bank Holiday and Platinum Jubilee bumper bank holiday weekend ignite Brits’ garden fever.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers, finds that successive lockdowns have converted Brits into a nation of plant enthusiasts. Over a third (35%) say they have kept up their gardening habits and hobbies acquired in lockdown, and almost a quarter (23%) report doing more gardening now since before the pandemic.

And this newfound love is enduring: over a third (34%) also say they are now more passionate about gardening compared to pre-pandemic.

In fact, supporting insights from eBay Ads UK illustrate a clear growth in garden purchases on the platform during the pandemic. In May 2021, purchases of ‘herbs’ and ‘compost’ on ebay.co.uk were up 124% and 57% respectively compared to May 2019.

With the early May bank holiday just around the corner, the insights also show retailers should be prepared for consumer interest in all things cultivation to surge as Brits take to their gardens.

Search data from ebay.co.uk from the early May bank holiday last year (May 1-3 2021) found that searches in the Garden & Patio category increased 32% over the course of the weekend compared to the three days previous.

Meanwhile, searches for ‘allotment’ and ‘greenhouse’ shot up by 62% and 43% respectively in the same time period.

While not all Brits are ready to get their hands dirty, they have still grown to better appreciate their gardens, with 43% of UK consumers saying they now take more pride in them than they did pre-pandemic.

Almost a quarter (23%) spend more of their leisure time in their outdoor space now, and almost half (48%) of consumers surveyed say that quiet relaxing outdoors is their favourite way to use their space.

eBay Ads UK insights also indicate that brands should be prepared for consumers to splurge on outdoor furniture during their spring downtime, as ebay.co.uk recorded a spike in garden and patio searches on last year’s late May bank holiday (May 29-31 2021).

Compared to the three days previous, searches for ‘sunlounger’ rose by a massive 221% over the course of the long weekend, and searches for ‘deck chair’ and ‘garden sofa’ surged by 197% and 115% respectively in the same time frame.

With Brits now a ‘garden proud’ nation, the research reveals this trend is set to continue as the majority (79%) of consumers are planning on investing in their outdoor spaces in the coming months. Almost a third (31%) of consumers are planning to beautify their flower beds by buying seeds, plants and bulbs. Meanwhile, as consumers prepare to spend more time in their gardens to socialise, one in five (20%) plan to buy garden furniture and 17% are set to purchase barbecues.

eBay Ads global general manager Elisabeth Rommel commented: “It comes as no surprise to retailers that gardening bloomed during successive lockdowns, however, these insights show that the habits developed in lockdown are here to stay, and many of us are planning to keep up our green-fingered and garden-oriented habits for the longer term.

“With Brits interested in purchasing everything from gardening gloves for their shrubbery to furniture for hosting a backyard bash, retailers would do well to ensure they’re one step ahead and be prepared for consumers to celebrate and shop for these upcoming bank holidays.

“With the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday on the horizon, it’s important for retailers to also note the party potential of Brits’ backyards as they come together to honour the occasion, and prepare to get stock ready for the celebrations.

“Almost half (45%) of UK consumers intend to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday, whilst nearly a third (32%) have plans for hosting their own celebrations in the works and one in five (21%) are planning to make the most of the sun by spending this weekend outdoors.”

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