Consumer Gardening Spend in 2020 – The Highest Ever

Carol Marks presents Bord Bia’s research on the value of the garden market with reported sales of €1.2bn after a record year for gardening



Recent Bord Bia research has shown that consumer spending on gardening reached its highest level ever in 2020, at €1.2bn. This represents an increase of more than half compared with 2018. The sales surge was driven by record levels of spending on garden products of more than 75% against 2018 and on outdoor plants, sales of which grew by more than 51% against 2018. Additionally, all segments measured showed double digit
growth and total market spend was 14% higher than the previous record high reported in 2007/08.

The IPSOS Value of the Garden Market 2020 study for Bord Bia has been carried out biannually since 2001 using qualitative and quantitative research methods. The objective of the research is to measure spend, source of product and motivation for purchase of amenity products at a household and individual level. The research findings were presented
to industry at Bord Bia’s virtual Spring Plant Fair on the 9th March 2021, which provides a platform for Irish ornamental growers to meet commercial buyers and secure orders for the coming spring season. The study generated strong interest and impressive coverage, with a total of 30 pieces of national and regional placements, including 4 high profile broadcast
placements on Morning Ireland and Ray D’Arcy on RTE Radio 1 and Business Breakfast and Lunchtime News on Newstalk, and prominent coverage in the Irish Times.

Carol Marks, Horticulture Sector Manager, Bord Bia, remarked that, “2020 was an extraordinary year for gardening activity due to Covid 19, amplified by a particularly warm and sunny spring. It is a hugely positive story that, in spite of a period of closure last year, the category has managed to achieve record growth”.

2020 Gardening Behaviours

The research highlighted a number of key consumer gardening behaviours as a result of societal changes brought about by Covid-19.

Re-imagining outdoor spaces

The biggest uplift in spend in 2020 (+75% vs 2018) was on garden products such as BBQ equipment, garden structures (such as sheds, trellising, and pergolas), garden accessories and other hard landscaping products as consumers rushed to build and re-develop outdoor spaces.

Boy and girl with flowers

Investing in the ‘outdoor room’

An increase of 51% was measured in sales of outdoor and flowering plants, as people invested in making their outdoor spaces as attractive as their indoor spaces. Consumers focused on long-life plants to add colour and depth to their gardens, with an increase of 79% in the purchase of shrubs and an increase of 44% in the purchase of herbaceous perennials against 2018.

Growing your own

Spending on herbs, fruit and vegetables, for growing at home, recorded its highest level since measurement began twenty years ago and an increase of 42% against 2018, as consumers became more concerned about sustainability, the environment and health as a result of Covid 19. Many parents found planting food was a positive way to engage young children, in the same way cooking from ‘scratch’ and baking became enjoyable ways to pass the time.

Garden maintenance and makeovers

Spend on garden maintenance rose by 57% compared with 2018 as consumers tackled
important maintenance jobs which had previously perhaps been put off. Garden makeovers accounted for a third of spend on landscaping services, similar to 2018 levels, but actual spend increased by 10% over this measurement period.

Shift from cut flowers to indoor plants

In 2020, sales of fresh cut flowers, with a market value of €75m, were higher than the previous recorded high of 2007/2008. However, consumers clearly shifted their focus to plants rather than cut flowers in 2020. Sales of indoor potted plants had experienced a resurgence in popularity before 2020 as consumers recognised their role in improving air quality indoors, and again in 2020 purchasing occasions were higher, up 30% compared with 2018.

Commenting on the report Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia said, “the market for garden products has doubled over the past twenty years and there is a great opportunity now for the sector to continue to harness Irish consumers’ newfound interest in the garden. Our report outlines a number of areas of focus for the industry, including ways to engage the many new gardeners who have developed a keen interest in gardening, but have little
knowledge or skills about where to start”.

Bord Bia Gardening Resources
Bord Bia also has a range of gardening resources available at to support people on their gardening journey, including monthly tips and advice on what to do in the garden throughout the seasons. ✽