Chris Evans

29th July 2021


The Big Winners from a Scorching British Summer

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The country has sweltered in July as summer 2021 arrived in full force and even Northern Ireland saw temperatures break records. With August forecast to see a second, even warmer plume of thermometer-busting heat, it is the ideal time to look at the state of play in industries that benefit the most from these periods of un-British summer weather.

Business analysts Plimsoll produce more than 1600 industry-specific UK market studies. In each, we look at the individual performance of the leading companies involved in each industry, assess the key trends, and separate the winners from the losers.

The following is a summary of the state of play in 5 summer reliant industries:

BBQ Equipment

What’s a great British summer without various partially cooked or cremated meats cooked outside? The barbecue has been synonymous with any improvement in the weather and the range of equipment has expanded rapidly in recent decades. From the disposable tray barbecue right up to the mixed fuel outdoor kitchen style units, there is a choice for all requirements.

2020 and 2021 have both brought with them a generous dose of dry and warm weather. However, the barbecue equipment market appears to be showing signs of saturation and the episodic nature of purchasing patterns – people don’t buy a new barbecue every year. With that in mind, here are the latest trends in the UK market according to Plimsoll:

  • Growth: 0.6%
  • Profit: 1.6%
  • Companies in difficulty: 16
  • Sales per employee: £497,000

The barbecue equipment market is highly efficient but most at the mercy of the weather and a lack of replicable revenue. While the purveyors of meat and alcohol are almost guaranteed to see revenue rise in line with the weather, those making equipment are not.

Garden Buildings

When the British public couldn’t go to the pub during the various lockdowns and restricted venues, many brought the pub to their back garden. In fact, the boom in home “pubs” has seen a rapid expansion in the UK Garden Buildings market.

Even before the elongated COVID-19 restrictions, the explosion in demand has seen growth into almost double figures.  Early 2021 figures are showing the trend continuing with annualised growth of over 10%. Here are the latest performance indicators for the UK market according to Plimsoll:

  • Growth: 8.3%
  • Profit: 7.5%
  • Companies in difficulty: 78
  • Sales per employee: £99,000

With the supply squeeze on timber and other materials really starting to bite, input costs are rising rapidly, with plywood alone up by almost 30% year on year. How much pricing power will companies have to pass onto consumers, especially as restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars have now been lifted?

Garden Furniture

As alfresco dining and drinks in the sun become more plausible in the summer months, so it has added to the changing nature of where people want to live. As the pandemic saw us confined to home, so property with a garden has become a key demand.

As a result, demand for fashionable, statement garden furniture has continued to increase. From glass tables with built-in, ethanol fuelled fireplaces to the classic tree hung hammocks, a space to entertain and relax in the fresh air has seen healthy demand and profit across the market according to Plimsoll’s latest analysis:

  • Growth: 5.6%
  • Profit: 5.8%
  • Companies in difficulty: 27
  • Sales per employee: £362,000

Whether demand for outdoor furniture will continue as more venues open properly remains to be seen. However, the furniture sector is more multi-faceted than the BBQ market in that consumers can add additional items to their garden every year, but the sector is only one poor summer away from falling revenue.

Outdoor Play Equipment

Demand for outdoor equipment has been a delicate balance between held investment in local authority / commercial settings and an increase in consumer purchases. In a twist of fate, the worst of the lockdown periods has coincided with great weather and outdoor equipment and toys has boomed.

What should have been a catastrophic 18 months for the market, has been tempered by parents installing outdoor equipment for the home. Will this DTC model continue now restrictions on public parks, commercial play spaces and schools have been lifted - or will both co-exist? Here are the latest performance indicators for the UK market according to Plimsoll:

  • Growth: -3.7%
  • Profit: 2.4%
  • Companies in difficulty: 21
  • Sales per employee: £321,000

The play equipment industry faces the same input cost inflation as other markets with timber, rope, metal, and other raw materials all suffering from squeezed capacity and scarcity-driven price inflation. Will the industry have the pricing power to pass on all the costs to customers or will there be an erosion of profit margins?

The summer can often be a perfect time to take stock and reset for the final quarter of the year. With that in mind, why not assess the latest trends and developments on your market with a Plimsoll assessment on your industry. With more than 1600 industry-specific analyses available, we can give you a fresh insight into any market you are operating in, serving or reliant on.

Plimsoll takes the complexity and time required to study your market and the companies that matter to it. Search for your industry above and see what Plimsoll can tell you about your market today.

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