The reasons for this have included the growth of broadband internet services and mobile devices, as well as the expanding number of companies which now compete in the online sector.
Between 2011 and 2015, Internet sales of garden products more than doubled, with the sector growing by an estimated 24 per cent in 2015 – with growth of a further 20 per cent estimated for 2016 according to AMA Research's 'Internet Garden Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’.
Segmentation of the internet garden products sector differs from the market as a whole. Garden leisure products accounted for the largest share of ‘internet garden product sales via the Internet at around 30 per cent, followed by horticulture and garden equipment - this compares to the total garden products market where horticulture takes the leading share.
Both the internet sector and the overall market have benefited from the fact that more people are keen to use their gardens for entertaining and socialising. This trend has pushed up demand in sectors such as garden furniture, barbecues and decorative garden features in particular.
It is estimated that ‘non-specialist’ garden retailers such as DIY multiples accounted for the majority share of internet garden sales in 2015-16. However, competition continues to grow within the overall category, as a number of grocery multiples and high street retailers have recently increased their presence in the market.
Between 2018 and 2020, AMA Research says it expects the overall growth rate to have slowed to 10-12 per cent per annum.
AMA Research director Andrew Hartley said: "By 2020, it is expected that the internet sector will account for over 18 per cent of the total garden products distribution market and will have grown by more than 55 per cent compared with 2016 levels. While impressive, market growth is expected to slow during the years leading up to 2020, as the sector starts to mature."