Britons sprucing up their gardens during lockdowns have been hit with eye-watering price hikes, with some sheds more than doubling in price since the summer before the pandemic, new research reveals.
Major retailers are now charging consumers hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of pounds more for some popular outdoor items, with sheds, chairs, tables and other garden furniture all seeing steep increases.
The pandemic has fuelled a big surge in demand for these items, as people spent more time socialising in their gardens, but many struggled to get their hands on their favourite items or faced delivery delays of multiple months since the first lockdown.
Sheds and garden furniture are low in stock in many stores as there has been high demand
When they did manage to get hold of garden items, they were slapped with big price rises. Retailers have blamed increased shipping costs, shortage of materials and disruption to the supply chain for the price hikes.
Consumer group Which? compared prices across 2,000 garden products from six popular DIY and furniture stores, including B&Q, Screwfix, Homebase as well as Amazon, between July 2019 and July this year.
It found that each retailer raised garden furniture prices between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, with sheds, a pandemic favourite, seeing the biggest price increases.
The price of a Forest Garden Overlap Pressure Treated Shed sold by Screwfix rose by a staggering 155 per cent over the period.
It started at £319.99 in July 2019, but by July this year, it was priced at £814.99.
A more upmarket garden shed – the Shire 12x24ft Mammoth Loglap Timber Shed in blue – was priced at £2,799.99 by Screwfix in July 2019, before ending up at £5,395.99 two years later. That is a £2,596 increase, or 93 per cent.
A shed sold by Homebase also nearly doubled in price – the Mercia shed/greenhouse combi was £695 in 2019, but £1,210 two years later.
Screwfix did not respond to a Which? request for comment, while Homebase said: ‘The increased global demand for shipping containers and significant rise in freight costs, along with shortage of supplies, has meant that like many other retailers, we’ve had to review our prices across some categories.’
This shed sold by Homebase cost £695 in 2019, but it’s now selling for £1,210
In terms of tables and chairs, the Denia Wooden 6-Seater Dining Set, available from B&Q, was priced at £247 in July 2019, but by July this year it cost £369, which marked a 49 per cent increase.
As at the end of August, the price on the B&Q website had dropped again to £309.
Another price rise Which? found was on the Forest Garden Lyon Arbour from Screwfix and Toolstation.
Toolstation sold it for £179.99 in July last year, but last month it cost £261.98 – and as of the 28 August, the price seems to have risen further to £339.98.
The same item was generally more expensive through Screwfix, where it went from £219.99 to £341.99 in July this year.
Toolstation sold this item for £179.99 in July last year, but last month it cost £261.98 – and as of the 28 August, the price seems to have risen further to £339.98
|Retailer||July 2019 to June 2020||July 2020 to June 2021|
Every retailer Which? looked at raised garden furniture prices between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021.
Wickes saw the largest average increase, with outdoor goods costing 13 per cent more this year than they did in 2020.
Screwfix and Toolstation also saw rises of over 10 per cent across their garden products, while prices at Homebase rose on average by 8 per cent, B&Q by 7 per cent and Amazon by 2 per cent.
Wickes said ‘many factors’ contributed to price increases, including ‘inflationary pressures’ on some raw materials, such as timber, which Toolstation also highlighted.
B&Q and Homebase both blamed increased shipping costs for price rises
B&Q and Homebase both mentioned increased shipping costs as a contributing factor. This lines up with Which?’s reporting from April, which found that the industry was blaming rising shipping costs for outdoor furniture shortages.
B&Q also mentioned supply chain price inflation, while Homebase referenced a shortage of supplies. All three retailers said they were working with suppliers to minimise price increases.
Amazon pointed out that some of its prices were set by third-party retailers, and said it had policies to help them price products competitively. It said its own prices fluctuate regularly for many reasons including stock levels and competitors changing prices.
Homebase also blamed a shortage of supplies for price hikes
Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: ‘Many people have looked to spruce up their gardens with new outdoor furniture during the pandemic, but our analysis shows consumers have been hit with eye-watering price hikes for popular items.
‘Anyone looking to buy garden furniture should consider shopping around for the best prices, exploring the second-hand market, or repairing what they already have if that’s an option.
‘It’s also wise to plan ahead with any furniture purchasing at the moment. Large or custom items could take several weeks longer than usual to arrive, so think about what you might need later in the year and order it now, if you can.’
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