Garden heaters become Lockdown Two’s sellout accessory
‘It would seem every garden in Ireland now has an outdoor heater’
Winter demand for outdoor heaters has gone through the roof for what was once considered a luxury garden accessory.
While the first lockdown’s obsession was with toilet paper, is the garden heater “the must have” in the second lockdown? As we look to extend the outdoor room experience well into the winter, demand has gone through the roof for what was once considered a luxury garden accessory.
“Maintaining stock remains a challenge,” says Suzanne Quinn, marketing and digital director at DIY chain Woodies. “We anticipate continuing strong demand into 2021 and have sought to extend our ranges to include an electric range of plug-in halogen heaters.” A search on the chain’s website for outdoor heaters delivers zero listings.
It’s much the same story at Awnings of Ireland, a firm that specialises in infra-red heaters, often sold with its outdoor awnings. Six weeks ago, owner Michael Maguire placed an order for gas and infra-red heaters that was 10 times the size of last year’s order. “I took every heater available from my supplier, clearing him out until January,” he says.
“As a result of Covid-19 we are selling 10 times more stock this year than last year. We still have some available on the website, which is being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Damien Kelly, of Wicklow-based Outdoor Living, has been similarly scrambling for stock. “Our outdoor heater sales are up by over 300 per cent,” he says.
At catering equipment supplier Nisbets, several lines are already sold out. The firm won’t have any more stock of its Tahiti model, a dramatic, isosceles-shaped, gas-fuelled heater retailing at about €428, ex VAT. There is limited stock on other models, says Ciaran McCarthy, a call centre adviser at the firm. “In two months we went from having a healthy stock level to none at all. It would seem every garden in Ireland now has an outdoor heater.”
Meanwhile, homeowners are improvising by wheeling out old fire pits and chimineas. “At Halloween, families used them to give the effect of a bonfire in their back gardens,” Kelly says, while advising the use of charcoal or kiln-dried wood to minimise smoke emissions unless you really want to annoy the neighbours.