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Bord Bia: Consumer gardening spend reached highest-ever level in 2020

Credit: Bord Bia

Value of the Garden Market Research reports sales of €1.2bn after record year for gardening



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11 March 2021

Consumer spend on gardening reached its highest-ever level in 2020, at €1.2 billion, Bord Bia research indicates. This is an increase of more than half when compared with 2018.

The surge was driven by record levels of spend on garden products (+75% vs 2018) and outdoor plants (+51% vs 2018). However, all products measured recorded double-digit growth and total market spend is 14% higher than the previous record high reported in 2007/08.

Conducted every two years, the research findings were presented to industry at Bord Bia’s virtual Spring Plant Fair. The event provides a platform for Irish ornamental growers to meet commercial buyers and secure orders for the coming spring season.

“2020 was an extraordinary year for gardening activity due to Covid 19, amplified by a particularly warm and sunny spring,” said Carol Marks, horticulture sector manager, Bord Bia. “It is a hugely positive story that, in spite of a period of closure last year, the category has managed to achieve record growth. The garden became the focus of much of our attention during lockdown, and with the longer-term prospect of remote working, consumers began to invest in their gardens, undertaking projects which heretofore were either on the long finger, or deemed low priority.  Additionally, the positive sense of wellbeing along with the recognition that our gardens, balconies and outdoor spaces were a safe place for gatherings, made the garden an even more important part of life during 2020.”

2020 gardening behaviours

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

  1. Reimagining 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 new outdoor spaces.
  2. Investing in the ‘outdoor room’: Spend on outdoor and flowering plants increased by 51% as people invested in making their outdoor space as attractive as indoors. Consumers focussed on longer term investments in shrubs (79% vs 2018) and herbaceous perennials (+44% vs 2018) in order to add colour and depth to their gardens.
  3. Growing your own: Spend on herbs, fruit and vegetables for growing at home recorded its highest level since measurement began twenty years ago (+42% vs 2018), as consumers became more concerned about sustainability, the environment and health as a result of Covid 19. Planting food was also a positive way to engage young children for many parents, in the same way cooking from scratch and baking became enjoyable ways to pass the time.
  4. Garden maintenance and makeovers: Spend on garden maintenance rose by 57% compared with 2018 as consumers tackled important maintenance jobs which had previously been put on the long finger. Garden makeovers accounted for a third of spend on landscaping services, similar to 2018 levels, but spend increased by 10% over this measurement period.
  5. Shift from cut flowers to indoor plants: While fresh cut flowers recorded a record market value of €75m – not even matched during the previous high recorded in 2007/2008 – consumers clearly shifted their focus to plants rather than cut flowers in 2020. Indoor potted plants experiencing a resurgence in popularity before 2020 as consumers recognised their role in improving air quality indoors. However in 2020, purchasing occasions were at their highest level since measurement began – up 30% compared with 2018.

“The impact of Covid-19 on the amenity horticulture market has been transformational,” said Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia. “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. In addition to regular insights, Bord Bia also provides a range of supports to the amenity horticulture industry, including our annual Marketing Assistance Grant which enables businesses to enhance their marketing capabilities and competitiveness.”

View the full report at

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