It is always difficult to establish what’s really going on in the UK Garden furniture market in terms of annual sales and trends.
Market research reports are vastly overpriced, and most of them seem to contradict each other. And call me cynical, but I’m sure competitors skew their figures to try and make it look like they’re selling more.
The garden furniture market itself is a little hard to pin down and define too. Multiple sales channels, diverse retailers and multiple product categories. And don’t get me started on the marketing jargon.
What I do know is 2017 was another strong year for Lazy Susan. Yes we’re only a relatively small fish in a big pond, but we’re proud of what we’ve achieved in the last 10 years.
Since we were founded in 2007 by business owner, Michael Scott, literally from his garden shed I may add, we’ve seen significant growth year on year.
In 2017 we sold more than 3000 garden furniture sets, more than 20,000 garden chairs, and over 4000 garden benches. Strong figures of which we are immensely proud, especially when you add our 98% positive customer rating on eKomi into the mix.
But what does all this mean for the future of Lazy Susan, and the UK garden furniture market as a whole in 2018?
Well, the Lazy Susan part, I can tell you exactly. The UK garden furniture market, a little more tricky. However, based on what we know as a business and from previous years, we’ll try and make a view predictions.
Please bare in mind, these are just our thoughts, figures are taken from what we see published online and in trade magazines, please don’t hold us to them. Plus, if you don’t agree, please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
Thats said, I thought it would be nice to share where myself and the Lazy Susan management team think the UK garden furniture market is headed this year.
The UK garden furniture market size
According to AMA Research’s Domestic Garden Leisure Market Report, the 2016 UK domestic garden leisure market (which includes garden furniture sales), grew by 6% in value terms from the previous year.
That performance has been attributed to improving economic conditions in recent years, and also underpinned by mild spring and a relatively (for the UK at least) good summer in 2017.
The total UK garden market is estimated to be worth around £5 billion, while the total spend in the domestic garden leisure market (primarily made up of garden furniture & BBQ sales) was estimated to be around £950m back in 2016.
The global garden furniture market
A recent report in the Repository of Market Research Reports stated that the global market for garden furniture will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9% from 2017 to 2022.
Compound annual growth rate is a useful tool too, as it measures growth over multiple time periods.
It’s basically the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the end investment value. If you assume that the investment has been compounding over that period of time.
Seeing the garden furniture market achieve steady expansion from 2017 to 2022 can only be good for Lazy Susan, with global sales revenues estimated to achieve over US $1,600 million by the end of 2022.
Asia-Pacific excluding Japan will continue to account for the largest revenue share, however, Europe is expected to increase at a higher compound annual growth rate by 2022.
The UK, France, and Germany are the countries that are expected to continue driving this rising demand for garden furniture in Europe. Again, good for us, as those are countries we’re very active.
The UK garden furniture market trends
In the decade that Lazy Susan has been involved in the UK Garden furniture market, probably the biggest shift we’ve seen is towards the greater demand for higher priced and better quality pieces.
Consumers are prepared to invest in their homes and gardens, trading up to more sophisticated patio sets. We expect to see that continue too.
People want to replace basic budget sets with quality metal and timber garden furniture. Stuff that’s built to stand up to the elements and last for a decade or more.
We’ve definitely noticed that our customers have become more savvy, better informed. People have done their research, they know what they want from their new furniture. What materials are best suited to the British weather etc.
Consumers want pieces that not only look good, but function too. They must stand up to the elements, and be designed for regular outdoor dining and entertaining. Providing all day comfort. These demands define our product offer.
Sales by garden furniture material
Metal garden furniture continued to account for the highest share by value of the UK garden furniture market in 2016. This was closely followed by timber, with plastic/resin (including rattan effect) estimated to account for the lowest share.
Plastic/resin and metal garden furniture have both gained market share at the expense of wood in recent years. However, reports are suggesting that while metal will continue to sell well, the recent trend towards resin effect furniture could have peaked.
There’s no question regarding resins ability to stand up to the elements, and designs have significantly improved in recent years, but it lacks the quality of metal and timber for me.
Our feeling here it Lazy Susan is that we’ll see a more of a threat from different types of timber in the coming year than maybe we have in the last few. Engineered poly-timber furniture is also a one to watch.
And based on what the Lazy team and I were seeing at the 2017 furniture shows, there’ll be a new kid on the block in the shape of outdoor fabric furniture pieces.
The UK garden furniture sales channels
According to a recent AMA report, distribution in the UK garden furniture market is dominated by the national DIY multiples, with their market share estimated to be around 45%.
A staggering percentage when you think about the questionable quality and limited choice (and sometimes even in-store availability) of their garden furniture ranges.
However, on a more positive note for us smaller independents, AMA stressed that growth of online sales has been one of the driving trends to have emerged in recent years.
It jumps back to the points we made earlier about consumers being more savvy and demanding better quality furniture.
There’s no escaping the fact that the UK garden furniture market is a mature one. Household penetration levels are high, and at Lazy Susan we suspect that total volume growth is likely to only be moderate in 2018.
Lets not forget the elephant in the room too. Who knows what challenges Brexit will bring for the the UK garden furniture industry.
Focus here at Lazy Susan is going to be on that 45%, convincing them of our quality over a perceived bargain, and the advantages of buying online from us.
So what’s happening in 2018 at Lazy Susan
We’re a modest, family run business with a small, highly motivated and dedicated team. Our aim is simple, to deliver high quality product, with outstanding customer service, all at competitive prices.
Lazy Susan furniture is classically styled and elegant, designed to sit on your patio in all weather for many many years to come. When it comes to product development, we don’t rest on our laurels.
Every year since our inception we’ve launched new styles, colours and made improvements to existing pieces. 2018 is no exception to that rule. But first what was popular last year…
In our classic range, our slate finish is the fastest growing colour, and currently accounts for 20% of our total sales.
Antique bronze continues to be our best selling classic finish with around 60% of all sales. While our white finish is proving to be a more popular choice in Germany and France than it is in the UK.
Top 5 best selling classic tables:
- June table in antique bronze
- Mia table in antique bronze
- Alice table in antique bronze
- Anna table in antique bronze
- Catherine table in antique bronze
Top 5 best selling classic chairs:
- April chair in antique bronze
- Rose chair in antique bronze
- Kate chair in antique bronze
- Emma chair in antique bronze
- Jane chair in antique bronze
In our modern range, the slate grey/white and slate grey/champagne are the most popular combinations.
Top 5 best selling modern tables:
- Florence table in slate grey
- Violet table in slate grey
- Daisy table in slate grey
- Virginia table in slate grey
- Lottie table in slate grey
The best selling modern garden chairs:
- Georgia chair in slate grey
- Georgia chair in white/champagne
- Georgia chair in black
- Abigail chair in slate grey
- Milly chair in slate grey
New for Lazy Susan in 2018
In terms of new stuff for this year, as I mentioned above, Slate Grey is our fastest growing finish, so it makes sense for us to extend the range.
Our bistro sets have also proven to be very popular in the last couple of years, so we’ve some exciting new designs and colourways coming in time for summer 2018 (see the photo above for a sneak preview).
The Lazy Susan design team have spent the off season also tweaking the design of our Alessia bistro chair. We’ve made some subtle changes to the back rest, simple but the result has dramatically improved comfort.
There’s also going to be a host of different colour combinations introduced across our Michelle style sun lounger. This will include some exciting new colours such as white and blue, antique bronze and champagne, grey and green (see a sneak peek of some of these below).
We’ve also got some brand new sun loungers coming very soon too. They will be called Stella and Rose, and you can see a preview of the Rose style below.
All in all, I’m sure you’ll agree that this year is shaping up to another exciting one for us. Lets just hope that our biggest nemesis, the British weather, decides to give us a great summer!