The UK garden buildings market increased in demand despite Covid-19 pandemic

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Rather than curbing market growth, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in demand for garden buildings and structures, as more people are working from home and require additional space. Additionally, with overseas travel restricted in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, some households have had additional disposable income to spend on big ticket home improvement projects, including garden renovations as many UK citizens also enjoyed staycations at home, given spells of good weather.

There has been greater demand for more premium materials and for detached buildings which can be used all year round. The unpredictability of the UK’s weather, coupled with people spending more time at home due to Covid-19 lockdowns, has led to increased demand for insulated buildings. This includes garden pods and some log cabins and summerhouses.

The garden is now perceived as an extension of the inside of the home, reflecting the homeowner’s tastes. With people spending more time relaxing and entertaining in their gardens, demand for garden shelters has also increased. The latter provide shading, screening and decoration and can also be used to delineate separate zones within the garden. The sector includes the more traditional gazebos, pergolas, arches and arbours, as well as structures to provide practical cover for outdoor kitchens, hot tubs/spas and garden bars, amongst other innovative uses. A key feature of this market has been the trend towards higher value products and a more differentiated structure.

Ozge Celik Russell, Research Manager at AMA Research and editor of the Residential Garden Buildings and Structures Market Report comments There are estimated 22 million gardens in Great Britain and over 90 percent of these are attached to houses, with regional and generational differences in garden sizes and homeownership. This provides a large consumer base for garden products, buildings and structures. The 7th edition of the Residential Garden Buildings and Structures Market report is extended to include glazed extensions attached to the main building and covers the changes the sub-sectors have undergone during the Covid-19 pandemic. While 2020 was a difficult year for many sectors, the residential garden buildings and structures market value remained stable as the increased demand for detached garden buildings and structures balanced the decreased demand for attached glazed extensions. A key trend to watch is consumer demand for insulated garden buildings to use all year round. Manufacturers have already started to respond through new product development and upgrade options. This trend will drive growth in traded value in garden buildings for all year round use and also impact how the product mix for detached garden buildings will evolve in the short-to-medium term as insulation options are added to log cabins and summerhouses. 

The market as a whole has grown strongly since 2016, primarily reflecting sustained investment by consumers in their gardens. The trend for ‘outdoor living’ has led to greater use of gardens for socialising and dining, with garden buildings and structures providing an opportunity to increase the amount of living space for the homeowner and to add greater comfort and style.

The most significant contemporary social influence on the garden buildings and structures market is the homeworking trend following the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to an increased number of people working from home, given the enforced lockdown restrictions. Despite the easing of these measures, it is expected that employers will continue to allow some employees to work remotely and flexibly, for part of their working hours. Demand for home offices is forecast to continue in the wake of Covid-19, as workers adopt a more blended approach to working in the office or remotely. This is expected to positively influence sustained growth in the garden pods sector.

The garden buildings and structures market has remained comparatively robust, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with a relatively strong order book. Throughput of sales has however been impacted by lockdown restrictions, disruption to supply chains and in some cases labour shortages due to furloughing or self-isolation of staff with symptoms of the virus.

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