What may the future hold for garden furniture sector; increased competition, smaller gardens in newer housing and the importance of a good online presence.
Established company is a casualty of highly competitive market sector
The closure of a long running Britannic Furniture based in Bristol poses the question of whether the garden furniture industry is in good health and what may lie ahead. Is it a shrinking market? Does the weather play a significant part as to if and when people buy new garden furniture?
What is the future for garden furniture?
The garden furniture market is a mature one, this usually means many people own the product, or products, being offered in the marketplace so the accent is on repeat business from these customers since the influx of ‘new’ purchasers is reducing.
It’s similar to the mobile phone market in that many people who could own a phone already do so. Therefore, mobile phone makers release new models frequently to encourage people to switch to the newer device while network service providers focus heavily on customer retention due to the increasing challenges in attracting new ones.
Similarly, garden furniture makers and suppliers are entering the territory of having to persuade existing owners to upgrade their existing furniture.
This isn’t easy as people tend to keep items such as furniture a longer time than their mobile phone, so the trend is to go into the more ‘inspirational’ areas with carefully designed furniture offerings such as those from Garden Furniture Compare.
People’s desire to stamp their personality and tastes on their home means they may be inspired to choose something more personalised to them – especially if they’re undertaking a garden overhaul or a full redesign.
Growth in recent times
The ‘garden leisure’ sector that includes garden furniture along with products such as barbecues has enjoyed a growth in demand in recent years with a 6% rise reported in 2016, with a demand for outdoor living furniture such as rattan dining sets and quality metal garden furniture. This is in part attributed to generally better economic conditions encouraging people to invest in their homes along with some reasonable spring and summer weather.
That said, the share of garden furniture sales in the overall garden leisure spend has dipped slightly in the recent past.
The housing market
Sales of garden furniture are linked heavily to the housing market, so it would appear a programme of increased house construction would be good news. This isn’t quite so clear cut though as the trend is for gardens to become smaller on new build properties, so could inhibit future demand.
There is intense competition in the garden leisure and furniture market, and with much foreign manufacturing where production costs are lower than in the UK the mass market area is heavily contested with price a key factor.
DIY multiples and the Internet
Smaller manufacturers find themselves competing heavily with DIY centres, so the trend may be for some to go upmarket to attract people who buy less on price but more on the need for furniture closely matching their garden and home ambience.
Internet sales continue to grow, so it will be even more important going forward for garden furniture companies to have highly effective websites optimised for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that rank highly for the various keywords that many interested people search by.
Will the sun keep shining?
Another key factor in garden furniture sales is the weather; of course there’s not much suppliers can do about the UK climate but it has a bearing on how a certain year’s buying patterns will play out. In recent years a mild spring has prompted many to buy their garden leisure equipment sooner than previously while a chilly start to the spring and summer would likely see buyers less inclined to splash out on renewing or investing in new furniture.