Online searches for self-sufficiency increase by as much as 809%

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of gardening has rocketed. With people being at home, looking for jobs to do and wanting to get outdoors to enjoy the spring sunshine, gardening has provided the perfect solution.

Whilst in lockdown, tidying the garden has not only providing a means of passing the time but has also helps the home environment look its best whilst being confined to it. It also provides a fantastic means of exercise, as well as also having many mental benefits too.

Honest Communications, which specialise in PR and communications support for brands in the garden and home sector, has seen the impact of this across its client portfolio with brands seeing sales increasing since the pandemic began.

To back this up, the agency has also found that Google search volumes for gardening in the UK have also drastically increased in the past two months, perhaps suggesting that those previously uninterested in gardening are now getting outside and getting growing.

Google searches for the phrase “gardening for beginners” were 81% higher in March this year than they were in March 2019. In April, during lockdown, the year-on-year increase grew to a staggering 184%.

Holly Daulby, managing director of Honest Communications, commented: “Our clients in the gardening sector have really seen an uplift in sales in recent times with gardening becoming a more popular past time than ever before. The online search data, particularly with searches around growing food and composting, suggest that people are looking for ways to become more self-sufficient. We’ve seen this in particular with Vegepod and Aerobin which both provide products for self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyles and growing your own food.”

More specifically, searches for compost were 809% higher this April than they were in April 2019. Honest Communications’ newest client, Aerobin Hot Composters, sold out on pre-orders alone with people seeking new ways of composting waste to landfill with bin collections being cancelled across the country during the pandemic. A traditional composting bin can take anything from six months to two years to transform waste into compost. Aerobin hot composting drastically speeds up that process and can do it in as little as 12 weeks.

Mark Robinson, from Aerobin, commented: “The demand for our Aerobin Hot Composters has been incredible. The first shipment sold out on pre-orders before they had even arrived with us! Councils are beginning to charge for garden waste removal, or aren’t taking it away at all, so people are looking for a sustainable way to get rid of their garden and food waste. With garden centres being shut it’s also been hard to buy compost recently, so this provides a means for people to create their own, whilst saving waste from landfill.”

Continuing along the lines of self-sufficiency, Honest Communications found that  in March this year there was a 420% spike in searches for “how to grow your own food” versus March 2019, which interestingly changed to a, still higher than usual, 180% increase for April year-on-year. This perhaps suggests that during the panic buying pre-lockdown phase people were searching for alternative means of self-sufficiency.

One retailer to also notice this is Hillier, which owns 17 garden centres and holds the world record for the most consecutive gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Vegetable seed sales across March and April for Hillier were up almost 20% year-on-year, despite the centres being closed for most of this period as well having two weeks where there were no sales at all.

Due to the recent increased interest, Vegepod which makes self-contained raised garden beds has brought forward the launch of its new Vegebag, which has been shortlisted for the prestigious RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year Award. The bag is ideal for gardeners with small spaces and means that even those with a small balcony can start growing their own food during isolation.

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