Buyer's Guide: Is the BBQ market heating up?

Barbecue sales are up but is this thanks to the World Cup or just a coincidence? Keith Chapman investigates.

2010 has the makings of a "smoking" year for barbecue sales. Encouraging weather forecasts coupled with the World Cup have outdoor-cooking enthusiasts watering at the mouth.

Early indications for the summer look promising. The sales value of barbecues was up 86.3% year on year for the month of April, as compared with last year. Does this mean people began preparing their World Cup parties early? Or simply making the most of that short spell of April sunshine that we had?

Barbecue sales have had a difficult couple of years. In 2008, none of the British football teams managed to qualify for the European Championship, impacting the market heavily, with June sales value down 42% on the same month in 2006 during the FIFA World Cup.

Chairman of the British BBQ Association Ben Bartlett explains that this is because barbecue "occasions" often happen in conjunction with sporting events. However, good weather is also vital to encourage alfresco dining, and the past two years have had anything but that during the summer.

Consumers are still reluctant to spend as the economy recovers, but with barbecue prices starting as low as £1.79*, it's hardly breaking the bank.

So what can we expect for the remainder of 2010? The market needs a boost, and so far that is what is happening.

May has brought another hot spell, so sales are expected to increase further. It is becoming increasingly popular to entertain at home**, so if the weather is suitable, and with the added "occasion" of the World Cup there is no reason why 2010 cannot be a fantastic year for Barbecues. Watch this space for an update after the World Cup.

*GfK RT UK April 10 Sales Price Data

** staying-in-saving-money-home-entertainment

- For further information about the gardening/DIY market, contact Keith Chapman at GfK on 0870 603 8253 or email GfK is a market-leading retail analyst.

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