Bord Bia has engaged Ipsos MRBI to track consumer activity and spend in the amenity market every two years since 2001. The objective of the survey is to provide Bord Bia with a tool to measure and track consumer spend, channel of purchase and motivation for purchase across a range of amenity products.
The amenity sector in this survey covers the following items: Outdoor and flowering plants: Indoor potted plants Fresh cut flowers (including foliage and wreaths), Garden products: including garden treatment (eg: fertilizer, pesticides), peat/bark/soil treatment, garden accessories, BBQ equipment, garden furniture, gardening tools and equipment, garden structures.
Population has grown by 26% since 2001. The number of households has increased by a third over the same period. The population is ageing – the number of 65+ has risen by 75% over this period.
Unemployment now stands at 5.4%, and is continuing to fall, albeit marginally now. New housing unit completions peaked in Ireland in 2006, but only around 19,000 private houses were completed in 2018. Supply is growing but still behind where it needs to be to meet demand.
The average age of the first time home buyer is 34 – up from 29 in 2006. Inflation (CPI) averaged 0.27% in 2018. Retail sales (excluding the motor trade) were up 3.5% in the past year.
Since the research began in 2001, the CPI for goods has decreased, while the price of services has increased significantly. The prices of utilities and local charges has almost doubled over this time. 2018 was a challenging year weather-wise, from snow hampering the kick off of the gardening season, to prolonged heat and drought during peak season.
The amenity market is showing signs of growth since the last measure, particularly in the areas of indoor potted plants and fresh cut flowers, foliage and wreaths. The overall market has grown by 9% in value @ €795 million euro, while purchase occasions have also increased by 8% to 18.4 million.
Spend on outdoor and flowering plants has plateaued since 2016, after reporting significant increases since 2011. Herbs, fruit and vegetables for growing yourself are the only products which report a lift in purchasing occasions within the outdoor and flowering plants category since 2016. Consumer engagement in GYO products appears to be further expanding after a period of stagnation.
Trees and hedges, as well as herbaceous plants, recorded increases in spend compared with 2016. In both cases, the uplift was due to an increased spend per purchase occasion, rather than growth in occasions. Hanging baskets and pre-planted containers have made no further inroads this measure, either in terms of occasions or value. Nonetheless, purchasing occasions are at their highest level since measurement began in 2001.
The long term trend for convenient planting solutions is further strengthened by a resurgence in popularity for indoor potted plants. Potted plants are demonstrating the greatest level of growth in both purchasing occasions and spend of all products measured. The market for garden products is showing further growth since 2016. There are positive movements in most products.
The popularity of decks – which soared during the Celtic tiger years, seems to have waned. Spend on landscaping services is also on the increase. Spend on garden makeovers or overhauls appears to be favoured over paying for a garden designer to draw up plans for a garden.
Independent garden centres remain the single most important channel for amenity products; a quarter of all consumer spend – and almost half of spend on outdoor flowers and plants - is routed through garden centres. Spend on amenity products through discounters has overtaken traditional supermarkets, due to a much greater increase in purchasing occasions over the past seven years.
The findings of the study will be presented to industry over the coming months at dedicated industry information days and trade fairs. Notice of these events will be included in upcoming newsletters.