Climate helped boost sales of lawn products

This sector thrived in last year's weather conditions, and 2010 so far looks healthy too, says Keith Chapman.

Last year was fantastic for lawn fertilisers. The category experienced a significant boost in sales brought on by the long, dry season. Total market sales grew 14.1% over the year, largely driven by increased sales in DIY superstores (+30.4%).

Garden centres also experienced growth over the year. However, this was not the case for mass merchants, with annual sales down 0.1%.

The key area of growth among this sector derives from lawn triple-action fertilisers. This has come at the expense of lawn feed and moss, which tends to show growth in the winter months. But this winter, it has not been the case, with lawn feed & moss sales static in December (up 0.8%).

Can the growth of triple-action fertilisers be due to increased sales within DIY superstores? Sales of lawn fertilisers in 2009 rose 28% on the previous year. When analysing the customer profile of an average DIY superstore shopper, you expect a more casual customer than that of a garden centre.

It seems casual gardeners are more likely to buy convenience products, making their tasks easier. Triple-action fertilisers fit this brief, combining tasks to reduce the end-user's workload.

Considerable sales growth is also occurring among accessory products. Notably lawn spreaders with sales up 40% over the year.

What can we expect for 2010? The market needs a repeat of 2009. And so far, that's what we are experiencing: 2009 started with a cold snap, mirroring the climatic conditions early in 2010.

Hopefully these similarities will continue with a long dry season, resulting in a thriving lawn fertiliser market driven that is by gardeners wanting to make the most of their gardens over the summer months.

- For further information about the gardening/DIY market, contact Keith Chapman, account executive at GfK, via email at GfK is a market-leading retail analyst.

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