All statistics are based on those surveyed and compare August 2021 to August 2020, with the exception of confidence; confidence is compared at the time of survey (October 2021) to the same time last year.
OVERALL PERFORMANCE year-on-year
Focusing on the trading month of August 2021, it is clear the material and labour shortages are continuing to have a negative impact on the industry as participants explain, and show, they are tackling the issue.
Those feeling more confident dropped significantly, which may be disappointing to see given the small increase shown last month.
However, demand is still there as many continue to experience increases in turnover, enquires, and projects – though figures don’t appear to be as strong as they have been.
Overall, enquiries displayed the highest percentage (26%) of those seeing decreases. Anecdotal evidence suggests respondent’s clients have been more understanding that things are having to move at a slower pace given the material and staff shortages. One participant commented: “inflationary pressures on materials and wages are continuing to impact the our existing projects”, and another added: “lead times are longer, and everyone is talking about how difficult it is to find qualified staff.
On the whole, this drop in confidence and enquiries could be a result of the end of the summer season and things slowing down, people aren’t in their gardens as often.
Key highlights included:
- Significant confidence decrease, with 6% feeling more confident
- The greatest increase in turnover was seen by garden designers, at 71%
- The lowest increase in turnover was seen by design and build companies, increasing by 18%
- National turnover increased by 32% on average
- National projects increased by 24%
- Turnover in the Midlands rose by 72% on average
SECTOR PERFORMACE year-on-year
Domestic landscapers saw an average increase of 35% in turnover and 25% in projects. There was also an increase of 35% in enquiry rates, though one respondent commented: “we have noticed that clients are now sitting on quotes as they are considering holidays instead.”
Things were positive for commercial landscapers, with a strong majority reporting increases across all areas. On average, turnover increased by 22%, enquires rose by 19%, and projects saw a small rise of 14%.
However, participants expressed their concern towards current industry pressures, and one respondent explained: “we are struggling with the seasonal demand of work and low staff numbers due to COVID-19 and lack of seasonal workers”, and another added: “inflationary pressures on materials and wages continue to impact the bottom line of existing projects.”
Garden designers had another busy month. Turnover increased by an average of 71%, and projects increased by 30%. Given the current difficulties in the industry, this is certainly encouraging to see. Although enquiries saw just a minor increase, 3%, and a respondent experiencing this commented: “enquiries are slowing down, but lately they have been better quality and have larger budgets.”
Design and build
Design and build companies saw the largest average decrease in enquiries, falling by -13%. However, turnover did increase, rising by 6%.
As a sector experiencing some difficulty, it’s positive to see that staff levels haven’t dropped. 50% of respondents experienced an increase in staff levels, whilst the other 50% remained static.
Nurseries and Soil suppliers
Confidence was all around high for nursery respondents, and quotes were up by an average of 12%. However, turnover decreased by -4%.
One nursery commented: “The cost of packaging and haulage is increasing constantly. There is going to be a lot more onus on getting packaging back from customers, or charges being passed on for lack of returns.”
Soil suppliers experienced a very positive month, with 100% of participants reporting increases across all areas of measurement. Turnover increased by an average of 16%, and quotes rose by 7%.
If you would like the full report or would like to contribute to the UK Landscape Barometer moving forward, please send an email to Gemma Lloyd on [email protected] or call on 01903 777570.