Activating the trend of BBQ and gardening in the UK

Date : 14 April 2021

Sabira Habib

Retail Analyst

The UK is in the process of cautiously easing its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The country is currently in stage two, which allows two households or groups of up to six people to socialise in an outdoor setting. With new lockdown measures in place, people are looking to spend more time with their family and friends in outdoor spaces.

We explore the impact the easing of lockdown has had on shopper trends and how retailers and brands in the UK are helping people boost their outdoor experience. 

Spike in sales for BBQ and garden furniture

Since the lockdowns’ easing, Asda has seen a 120% increase in sales across its outdoor category. This has been driven by demand for BBQs and garden furniture, with sales in both categories increasing by over 400% year-on-year.   

Rob McWilliam, Asda’s CFO commented,  

“We expect that our online sales of outdoor items, such as patio furniture and BBQs to continue to remain strong as we get closer to spending more times outside and we continue to invest in these lines to ensure our customer receive great product value and quality.”


Source: Asda

Collaboration enabling one-stop shopping solutions

Next is partnering with Homebase to launch ‘Garden by Homebase at Next’. The collaboration features ‘mini Homebase’ garden centres at selected Next stores, where Next shoppers can shop for garden essentials and receive expert advice from Homebase’s staff.

With lockdown restriction impacting footfall sales, this partnership will help Next boost in-store shopping and attract shoppers by staying relevant with shopper trends. In addition, Homebase will be able to offer its products in more locations across the country and access more shoppers.


Source: Homebase

Standout in-store displays showcasing the category

Sainsbury’s and Tesco are driving attention to the trend using eye-catching displays and signage to showcase their outdoor and gardening products.


Source: IGD Research

Food boxes for outdoor experiences

With more people engaging in outdoor activities, such as BBQs and picnics, Morrisons has launched two new food boxes, the BBQ Box and the Family Picnic Box. These contain all the essential products the retailer believes shoppers need for the perfect outdoor experience.


Source: Morrisons

Well-targeted promotions by food-to-go brands

itsu created excitement and engagement on its social media platforms for customers planning to engage in outdoor activities with a giveaway of its limited-edition park hamper. The hamper included itsu vouchers, itsu goodies and its branded umbrella and hat.  

Café Nero ran a buy one, get one free promotion during the early stage of lockdown easing, where two people could meet outdoors. The promotion was well targeted for the specific restriction with its promotional image depicting two people enjoying Café Nero coffees outdoors.


Source: itsu and Café Nero

Inspiration from outside the UK

The Netherlands’ largest food retailer, Albert Heijn is giving away vegetables, herbs, or fruit seeds to customers who spend €15 on their grocery shopping. The campaign is aimed at encouraging customers to help biodiversity by planting their own vegetables at home and making it a fun family activiy to help children learn about gardening.


Source: Albert Heijn

It is also helping customers enjoy BBQs with its BBQ meal kits and online BBQ workshops. It also offers a shopping list on its online website featuring the essentials for each BBQ workshop, making it easier and fun for customers to participate.

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