Slight improvement ahead for DIY and garden industry

According to The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA)’s latest weekly Covid-19 financial update for members, the forecast for growth in DIY and garden expenditure for 2020 has shown a small improvement – thanks largely to the gradual reopening of B&Q, followed by Homebase.

The predicted figure at the end of April is now minus 10.5% – from £11.4bn to £10.2bn compared to 2019.  This is a slight upturn on the mid-April figures which showed a minus 12.1% growth figure at £10bn.

The predictions also reveal that the percentage increase in online sales in the sector has now dropped back to £14% from 16.2% forecast on April 15th, showing the impact of store re-openings.  Nevertheless, 31.1% of consumers expect to buy both food and non-food items more frequently online once the pandemic ends.

BHETA’s marketing manager, Steve Richardson commented: “The commercial situation for DIY and garden in the Covid-19 pandemic is moving extremely quickly and BHETA is committed to providing updates as frequently as new data is available.  Working with GlobalData, both financial updates and attitudinal consumer surveys are being made available to members.

“As we have seen DIY and garden retail is in a stronger position than some other areas of home enhancement as consumers focus on home and garden-based activities instead of holidays and trips out.  42.3% of consumers intend to do more gardening because of the pandemic restrictions and 17.6% intend to do more DIY.  This includes significant numbers of parents intending to involve their children in home and garden projects, which may be a trend worth considering.  Globaldata’s April consumer survey also reveals an increasing preference for products sourced from the UK or Europe as opposed to from further afield.”

Forecasts for the impact of Covid-19 on retail in general remain gloomy.  While non-food spend will start to recover in June, more normal spending patterns are not predicted to arrive until October.

The total retail market for 2020 is now cited as down to £324.0bn from pre-pandemic forecasts of £346.3bn.  With 14.6% of consumers not expecting life to return to normal until the end of the year, retailers are unlikely to experience a full recovery until 2021.