As the shelves emptied of fresh produce at the start of the Covid19 lockdown, creative shoppers decided to grow their own at home. Thwarted by the lockdown closure of garden centres, shoppers turned to convenience stores to find the gardening supplies they needed.

June 15, 2020
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How does your garden grow?

As the shelves emptied of fresh produce at the start of the Covid19 lockdown, creative shoppers decided to grow their own at home. They may have been motivated by a desire to ward off ills with a source of healthy fruit and vegetables or maybe by the prospect of finally having enough time to tackle the neglected garden. Some people felt they were joining in the VE Day spirit of wartime “dig for victory” albeit some 75 years after the war, and others were seizing the opportunity to educate children about where their food comes from and taking pleasure in watching it grow – there’s nothing so satisfying than eating your own fresh produce, still warm from the sunshine!

Whatever their reason for growing at home, customers were thwarted by the closure of the garden centres and have turned instead to their trusty local store.

Of course, convenience stores have not disappointed, they managed to help us and supplied seeds and other gardening supplies to a much wider range of customers than usual. If we look at the whole gardening category, to include seeds, compost, fertiliser, bedding plants, and garden consumables like garden sacks, we see a huge rise in sales. The data, drawn from around 3000 independent c-stores across Great Britain, show a 173% increase in sales of gardening products between week 10 and 11 and a steep curve after that. We hope that means some blooming gardens and lots of produce to come!

Gardening items sales 2019 Gardening items sales 2020

It seems we’re enjoying being out in our gardens and we’re paying more attention to the nature in our back yard. C-Stores also saw an unusual peak in sales of seed for pets – which would indicate that we’re enjoying the quieter evenings, without the usual traffic sounds, and the company of our local wildlife. Bird feeders in convenience stores include items such as coconut feeders, containing fat and seeds, mealworms and fruit as well as plastic or wooden feeders and seed refills. It’s notable that some areas have sold more bird feeders than others. The average number of items sold per store is 11, but in some regions, this is much higher, the top area is the South East, where average sales are 21.35 per store and the lowest region for feeder sales is West Midlands with just 3.68 sales on average.

4.4% of convenience stores sell bird feeders. The number of stores selling these items has doubled over lockdown which shows how nimble and responsive our friendly local stores can be – and just how much we need them!


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