Weedkillers - sales trends

The category has bucked the general gardening sales trend, with supermarkets in particular cashing in.

After a fantastic 2009, it is encouraging to see that garden sector performance remained practically flat (-0.3 per cent)* throughout 2010. While sales of plants and plant care as a whole were down three per cent** on the previous MAT, weedkillers contradicted this trend with growth of 4.4 per cent. So where is this market growth coming from?

Supermarkets increased their weedkiller sales by an impressive 26 per cent in value over the MAT; and they, of course, are focusing their efforts on convenience items. Interestingly, supermarkets only really operate in this category for four key months of the year. They are able to immediately gain significant share, therefore impacting all other channels - most notably, declines in weedkiller sales of one per cent among the DIY superstores.

While DIY superstores account for 36 per cent of units sold, they account for 44 per cent of value. The supermarkets, on the other hand, account for 23 per cent of units sold, but only 15 per cent of value.

So, are supermarkets devaluing the weedkiller market during their relatively short trading time?

It is ready-to-use offerings that are driving the overall market growth, with sales of these items increasing 8.7 per cent in value over the past 12 months.

There has also been a shift to pack sizes greater than 3L (with sales value of these items growing by a remarkable 31 per cent).

So what can we expect for 2011? An early Easter will no doubt affect supermarket performance and their impact on the wider market. Will ready-to-use continue to drive growth, or will innovative concentrated offerings (such as soluble sachets) impact the dynamics within the category? Only time will tell.

*GfK RT UK, Chemicals, Panel Market excluding Ironmonger, Sales Value, Nov 08-Oct 09 v. Nov 09-Oct 10

**(GfK Total Store Reporting, MAT 2009/2010)

For further information about the gardening/DIY market, please contact account executive Keith Chapman on 0870 603 8146 or email keith.chapman@gfk.com, or go to www.gfkrt.com/uk

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