The growth factor: DIY and garden sectors 'will remain priority areas of spend'

OPINION: The recent DIY and garden boom has not simply been a reaction to ‘having nothing else to do’ during lockdown, but has been an acceleration of trends already in evidence… Will Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA), discusses a reset for society.

BHETA is a significant source of market data including actuals, forecasts and trend predictions. Its market data partner, GlobalData has just published the results for the first quarter of 2021 in the DIY and garden sector, together with its updated forecasts for the year. Meanwhile its trend forecasting partner, Scarlet Opus has supplied its interpretation – beyond the pandemic – of the reasons why things are happening as they are, and some of the implications for suppliers and retailers. It is at once reassuring, exciting and salutary to see that the two significantly different types of research share many similar views and conclusions.

From the GlobalData report it is clear that the expansion in the DIY and garden sectors continues apace. For DIY Q1 was another stellar quarter as UK consumers continued to look to improve their homes, amid the national lockdown. One of the major beneficiaries of this was the combined presence of B&Q and Screwfix with B&Q’s Q1 – ending 30and April 2021 – seeing total sales increasing by 82.7%, with its UK & Ireland like‐for-like sales over February, March and April growing 21.5%, 58.6% and 132.8%, respectively.

Overall, the value of the DIY market in Q1 was £2,008M, a growth of 11.4% YOY, with further growth for the year predicted at a further 3.4, and the tools sector likely to rise further by £4.5%. The garden and outdoor category showed growth of 5.5% in Q1 rising to a predicted 5.7% for the year. Its current value is £876M.

Combined with the continued strength of the housing market, aided by the extension of the stamp duty holiday, this is a strong picture for tools and fixings, perhaps only undermined by the strained supply of building materials, such as timber and concrete. GlobalData’s report indicates the potential threat that this could pose for the big heavyside projects. The overall take however is a positive one of continued success. Maybe not at the sky‐rocketing pace we have been seeing, but with ongoing growth for the sector throughout the coming year.

DIY AND GARDEN SPEND: What about the next 3 years?

Turning to the underlying reasons behind the numbers, it was interesting to see the Scarlet Opus view of the coming two to three years and its analysis of how the world has changed. Analysing the home and garden‐centric consumer behaviours which have impacted on our industry, and which were brought into sharp focus by lockdown, its contention is that they were not simply reactions to having ‘nothing else to do’ but a massive acceleration of trends already starting to be in
evidence. In other words, a fundamental ‘reset’ in society’s valuation of what is important. According to the trend forecasters, far from being just a ‘lockdown boom’, home and garden will remain a priority area of spend.

Continued home working, continued uncertainty and a significant speeding up of concerns about sustainability, the environment and climate change will ensure that the focus on maintaining and improving territory and living space will remain at the top of the agenda. This is likely to be at the expense of fast fashion, disposability and impulse travel. It will mean that those who have income and potentially savings will spend a significant proportion on their own immediate environment.

The physical and mental wellbeing benefits have been shown to be considerable. A confident new generation of DIYers and gardeners has been empowered. Creativity, repair, recycling and self‐reliance remain market drivers. Home socialising will foster continual improvement of indoor and especially outdoor space.
All of which is good news for tools and fixings suppliers and retailers. I appreciate the current challenges created by logistic and supply chain issues, rising raw materials prices and legislative change, but it is at least reassuring to know that home improvement, garden and building industries are all providing opportunities and will continue to do so.

For more information about BHETA and its market data, lobbying, networking, and business support opportunities, contact Helen Farnell in BHETA Member
Services at or 0121 237 1130.

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Torque Magazine, which you can read in its entirety onlineIf you are part of the fastener, tool and related industries you can subscribe to the magazine or sign up to our weekly newsletter.