Covid-19: Lockdown prompts spending on gardening to hit record high
Irish consumers spent €1.2 billion on their gardens last year, Bord Bia report finds
Spending on outdoor plants rose 51 per cent increase, while spending on herbs, fruit and vegetables hit its highest level since measurement began 20 years ago. Photograph: Richard Johnston
Spending on gardening hit a record high last year in a consumer trend linked to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Irish consumers spent €1.2 billion on their gardens last year, up more than 50 per cent on the 2018 figure and 14 per cent higher than the previous record level of spending recorded in 2008, the bi-annual horticulture report from Bord Bia shows.
The growth was driven by a 75 per cent increase in spending on garden products such as barbecues, sheds and other garden accessories as people rushed to build and redevelop one of the few outdoor spaces they were allowed to safely frequent last year.
Spending on garden maintenance rose 57 per cent as people also appeared more willing to take on DIY jobs they had previously left on the long finger.
There was a 51 per cent increase in spending on outdoor plants, while spending on herbs, fruit and vegetables hit its highest level since measurement began 20 years ago.
Sales of edible plants and leaves climbed by 42 per cent compared with 2018 as people grew more concerned about sustainability, the environment and their health thanks to Covid-19.
For many parents, planting food was also seen as a positive way to engage children in the same way cooking from scratch and baking became hugely popular last year, Bord Bia said.
Fresh cut flowers also recorded a record market value of €75 million.
Conducted every two years, the research findings are being presented to industry on Tuesday 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 season.
Bord Bia horticulture sector manager Carol Marks described 2020 as “an extraordinary year for gardening activity”.
She attributed it to the impact of the virus and a particularly warm and sunny spring and described it as “a hugely positive story that, in spite of a period of closure last year, the category has managed to achieve record growth”.
Ms Marks also said 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”.
Chief executive of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy said the impact of the virus had been “transformational”.
She said the record growth reflected people’s “need for outdoor spaces for safe gatherings, communing with nature and relieving stress”.