Published On: Thu, Mar 31st, 2016

Growth in the UK garden building market

garden roomsThe market for ‘domestic garden buildings and structures’ is estimated to have grown by around 3.5% in 2015. Following a relatively flat period in 2010 to 2013, growth accelerated in 2014 and continued to perform well in 2015, buoyed by improving consumer confidence and spending, which stimulated demand for all product groups covered in AMA’ Research’s report. The sector is broad, ranging from lower value sheds and greenhouses, through to high value garden rooms and tree houses.

The sector is influenced by a range of factors, reflecting the diversity of products. For example, at the top end the trend towards homeworking has continued, and there is a growing need to provide accommodation for parents and children unable to enter the housing market, which has driven demand for garden rooms. Also benefiting the market are the increasing use of garden buildings for leisure activities as well as the trend for upgrading specification and increased customisation of buildings, while at the lower end there has been an increase in outdoor storage solutions other than the traditional shed. The weather can also have a significant impact – for example, summerhouse sales are very seasonal and poor weather during the key sales period tends to have a significant impact on annual sales, while stormy and windy weather can stimulate demand for damage replacements (sheds, greenhouses etc.).

Some sectors in this market are mature and household penetration is high, leaving limited scope for significant market growth and placing greater emphasis on upgrading and replacement products. Sheds & storage represents the largest product sector with a 35% share, followed by garden buildings ‘for all year use’, and log cabins and summerhouses, each accounting for over 20% of the market. The sheds and storage sector is mature and has been affected negatively by the trend towards buying cheaper sheds, but has seen steady growth in recent years, while the log cabin and summerhouse sectors were more markedly affected by the economic downturn.

DIY multiples are the leading channel in the distribution of garden buildings and structures and are estimated to hold a share of around 40-45%. However, overall distribution is fragmented, with ‘online, mail order and catalogue’ companies, garden centres and direct supply, grocery multiples and high street retailers, all accounting for some share in this market. While the internet continues to have an impact on how consumers interact with retailers, many garden building sectors are mature and the Internet is now considered an established sales channel in the garden products market. Going forward, it is therefore unlikely that it will see the level of share gains achieved in recent times, though some further growth is forecast.

The overall market for ‘domestic garden buildings and structures’ is forecast to experience growth of between 3-5% per annum to 2020. Factors expecting to drive growth include an improving economy & growing consumer spending, improving housebuilding & house moving levels, possibly a sustained ‘grow your own’ sector, as well as pent up demand for other garden buildings as disposable incomes recover. However, market growth may be limited by the decreasing size of the average garden size in new housing, as well as the large proportion of flats and apartments expected to be built to meet the Government’s housing targets.

“The shed and greenhouse sectors are mature and more dependent on replacement purchases; consequently growth rates are forecast to be more modest in the medium and long term with annual growth rates of 2-4% to 2020” said Andrew Hartley, Director of AMA Research. “In contrast, garden rooms and other buildings used for working, accommodation and leisure represent less mature sectors with high potential for growth”.

Pent up demand is likely to provide opportunities, but the unpredictable UK weather also influences the market to a certain extent which may impact on growth rates in any given year. However, it is likely that homeowners will continue to upgrade, with increasing specifications and customisation. It is also likely that homeworking levels will continue to grow, particularly as faster broadband coverage reaches all parts of the UK, and this should continue stimulating demand for garden offices.

The ‘Garden Buildings and Structures Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.