Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Cost of living crisis sees DIY boom continue

Published: 7 May 2023 - Neil Mead

A softer housing market and rising cost of living is feeding into the ‘improve, don’t move’ mentality and continues to give DIY a lift; particularly when combined with a flood of inspiration and support on social media. From outdoor kitchens to pergolas and planters, online search queries around do-it-yourself garden projects are soaring and the market holds serious growth potential. If you hadn’t considered expanding your offer with DIY lines before, now is the perfect time to plan a visit to the brand-new DIY sector at Glee 2023 (27th – 29th June, NEC Birmingham) to explore the opportunities this category can present to your business. 


With lockdown and furlough a thing of the past, some predicted an end to the DIY boom the pandemic created. However, whilst sales may have dipped below the dizzying heights experienced temporarily during Covid, consumers are still very much engaged with DIY projects in their home and garden, spurred on by social media inspiration and the need to save a penny during the cost-of-living crisis. 

A newfound love for tackling home improvement projects – with the bonus of keeping costs down – has spawned a new breed of younger DIYers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. The beauty of the digital age also means that, even without skills passed down through the generations, these DIYers can simply go online and watch a video tutorial from a host of influencers. Convenience is key, so if your business can offer a one-stop-shop with everything they need to tackle an outdoor DIY job, you can foster loyalty and guarantee repeat custom from this demographic.

The dedicated DIY sector at this year’s Glee is perfectly geared towards helping garden centres tap into the increasing trend for garden DIY and create further opportunities with targeted products that will complement and enhance your existing offer.

Market growth

Whilst there has been caution around spending, it’s interesting to see what consumers have prioritised. Cutbacks on non-essential spending have mostly included activities like eating out, whilst households have continued to splash out on DIY projects; even dipping into savings, if they have to. A recent report by KPMG found that, amongst those who have spent savings on major purchases so far this year, the most common reason was for home improvements (22%). Home improvement was also revealed as the most common savings spending intention for the rest of the year, according to a third of respondents; coming in ahead of plans to go on holiday.

Pandemic sales spikes saw online sales of home improvement and garden retail products grow by  record numbers, whilst DIY retailers reported soaring profits and millions of new customers. They were unprecedented times and sales inevitably returned to normal levels but consumers had caught the DIY bug. The worldwide home improvement market was valued at $763billion in 2020 and is expected to surpass the trillion-dollar mark by 2027.

A look at online activity reveals more than 43,000 posts under the hashtag #gardendiy on Instagram, whilst the same hashtag on TikTok has had 282.6million views. Meanwhile, Google Trends highlights rising search queries in the UK over the past 90 days that include ‘DIY planter’, ‘DIY outdoor kitchen’, ‘DIY pergola’, ‘DIY building supplies’ and, in top searches, ‘DIY near me’, and ‘DIY garden ideas’. There is a wealth of opportunities for garden centres looking to tap into this appetite for garden improvements by providing a local supply of DIY products for projects, along with the plants and finishing touches.

Fearless DIYers

Leading trend forecaster and partner of the 2023 show, TrendBible has identified significant changes in consumer behaviour, including the emergence of what it describes as ‘Resilient Homemakers’. These consumers have a recessionary mindset and fully embrace self-sufficiency, which TrendBible says is driving a DIY culture boom. 

The trend specialist is seeing a rise in fearless DIYers and consumers ‘hacking their lives’ to make them more organised and easier, using things like clever, attractive storage inspiration to transform mundane areas, such as sheds and garages.

It also includes what the TrendBible team dubs ‘female upskilling’, with an increase in self-taught female DIYers on social media, showcasing what they have learnt or built and providing inspiration for others. TrendBible has seen a rise in DIY amongst Gen Z (those born 1997-2012), revealing that this is reaching younger consumers, whilst a love of ‘reclaimed DIY’ is seeing people use what they have to create what they want and celebrating that reclaimed look, whether it’s greenhouses made from old doors and windows or garden furniture made from wooden pallets.

Review your ranges

The UK’s leading garden retail show, Glee brings together over 400 exhibitors under one roof – showcasing thousands of ranges across 10 key sectors, including Garden Care, Plants, Home, Gift and Clothing, Landscaping & Decoration, and DIY. The DIY sector already has a number of major brands on board, such as Rustins, manufacturer of finishes, paints and performance cleaners; adhesive and sealant manufacturer Soudal; and German portable light manufacturer, LEDLenser. Other exciting additions include Clever Paints, Hanson, and JPT Europe. 

Register now

With over 300 exhibitors already signed up for Glee 2023, and more brands being added every day, don’t miss your chance to attend what looks set to be an incredible show. Register for your free ticket now.


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