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UK Landscape Barometer records first confidence decrease this year

All statistics are based on those surveyed and compare April 2021 to April 2020, with the exception of confidence; confidence is compared at the time of survey (June 2021) to the same time last year.

The trading month for April 2021 saw a change in the industry’s overall performance. For the first time in five months, the UK Landscape Barometer has reported that confidence across the industry has decreased. Indeed, a staggering 47% of participants have told us that they are feeling less confident compared to the previous month.

Alongside this seemingly dramatic drop, the barometer can also report that there has been a drop in the number of participants experiencing increases across all areas – apart from for staff, where data remained roughly static. Nonetheless, national turnover, enquires, projects, and conversion were still receiving a significantly higher percentage of participants responding with increases.

Be that as it may, after a consistently high performance since March 2021, when the ONS reported that construction output had recovered to its pre-pandemic levels, things do appear to be slowing down. This is something that could be a result of the current material shortage – many participant comments reflected deep concern for the future as average lead times are recorded to range between three to six months which is of course drastically affecting projects all round.

UK Landscape Barometer: Confidence graph

OVERALL PERFORMANCE year-on-year

Nationally, 71% of participants responded with increases in turnover, 78%, in enquiries, and 68% in projects.

Overall, design and build companies stormed ahead, presenting the greatest increase in turnover, at 226%. In addition, this is also miles above the data collected last month, where garden designers saw the highest increase in turnover, standing at 140%.

Coming close in second place, nurseries also saw an enormous increase in turnover – reaching a average rise of 224%.

However, things weren’t as high for domestic landscapers. Results showed that the sector saw the lowest increase in turnover across the industry types – at 38%. Nevertheless, this is still significant and positive increase.

SECTOR PERFORMACE year-on-year

Domestic landscaping

The number of projects rose by 84%, and enquiries, 80%.

Turnover increased by 38%, enquiries, 80% and conversion, 20% on average.

Commercial landscaping

Commercial landscapers presented the same percentages across projects and conversion, with an average increase of 39%. Turnover, rose by an average of 50%, and enquiries, 80%

Garden designers

Garden design remains steady in the consistent high enquiry rate, this month hitting an average increase of 175%.

Turnover rose by 49%, and projects increased by 74% on average.

Design and build

Design and build companies had a really good month. So much so, they displayed the highest percentage in increases across the industry.

Turnover increased by 226%, enquiries, 142%, and projects 153%. This is impressive given that three areas have hit an average increase in triple figures.

This huge increase could certainly be a result of the huge demand for home and garden renovation the pandemic seems to have played a part in influencing.

Nurseries and Soil suppliers

Nurseries and soil suppliers had displayed their most positive performance since the start of the UK Landscape Barometer in October 2020. 100% of participants reported that they are experiencing increases across all areas; confidence, turnover/volume sold, and quotes.

Nurseries had an incredibly positive month, with turnover hitting a 224% average increase, and quotes, 238%.

Soil suppliers weren’t as high in their overall increases, volume sold hit a 25% average increase, and quotes, 23%.

High performance and uncertainty

The industry is remaining busy and in high demand. Things appear to be escalating quickly as the material shortage continues to drastically affect business, and the lack of qualified staff is causing for even more concern as even if the material is in hand, demand is so high – participant comments say it is hard for them to keep up.

Ultimately, the overall drop in the number of participants seeing increases could definitely be a sign that the material shortage is now beginning to outstrip the demand, and in turn, is bringing down confidence in the industry.

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.

CLICK HERE TO READ LAST MONTH’S UK LANDSCAPE BAROMETER FINDINGS

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