The paradox of a sustained and booming garden furniture sector is demand outstripping supply. Pre-2020, the need for picnic benches and wooden garden furniture was predictable and stable. Then, Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
The first of these two events added extra customs paperwork and difficulties importing garden furniture. The second of these two events increased sales of garden furniture as indoor eateries were closed. The pandemic ushered in a new trend for outdoor dining and social gathering at home, pub beer gardens, and restaurants as families, customers, businesses, and workers took action to keep people safe.
According to a Which survey carried in February, almost a quarter of people who ordered garden furniture experienced a delay in receiving their order. 87% of EU manufacturers and sellers experienced delays, extra paperwork, and additional costs. The same situation exists for other household products such as pet food, seeds, and plants.
Changing travel restrictions have plagued holidaymakers throughout 2020 and 2021. The result was more people opting for a staycation, again adding to demand for garden chairs and tables.
Worldwide Supply Issues
Many warehouses are entirely depleted of garden furniture following a busy summer. As we enter Autumn and see significant numbers of the Delta-variant, outdoor dining is the preference for many people, even when the weather is far from ideal. This means that warehouse stock levels are unlikely to increase significantly.
The UK is also experiencing a shortage of truck and delivery drivers, as many EU-nationals returned home at the end of the Brexit transition period. The driver shortage means fewer haulage companies are choosing to send lorries into Europe to collect and deliver garden furniture that is manufactured there.
In the last month, major ports were closed in Asia due to Coronavirus outbreaks among the workforce. The closure compounded existing issues of workers being unable to work due to illness.
The worldwide supply issues were further strained by the stranded shipping container in the Suez Canal. For six days, there was no shipping traffic from East Asia to Europe and the UK. 12% of the world’s supply of products and goods travel through the Suez Canal, so the impact was enormous.
The issues and difficulties in supply have ultimately affected prices. In particular, garden furniture manufactured in China and the Far East is costing 25% more than it did pre-pandemic. Shipping costs have also risen significantly, with the shipping of a container going from roughly less than £1,000 to between £5,000 and £12,000. Space and the availability of containers is also less than it was, with PPE such as face masks, hand steriliser products, and vaccines taking priority.
So How Do You Get Garden Furniture Now?
While the government is making efforts to support the supply chain and boost workforce numbers, shortages are set to continue until late 2022 or 2023. Big brands that sell garden furniture, including Argos, John Lewis, Aldi, and IKEA, have all stated that they are and will be short of supply.
Whether you are a personal consumer or a commercial business, such as a pub, hotel, cafe, or restaurant, you need to plan ahead and anticipate your garden furniture needs. Where outdoor furniture is made in the EU or Asia, expect the fulfilment of your order to take extra weeks, and most likely several months.
The effects of Brexit and shipping issues caused by COVID-19 can be avoided altogether if you opt for UK-made outdoor garden furniture. Handmade locally, you will not only receive your benches, tables, and chairs earlier, but you will avoid price hikes and support the British economy.
MG Timber has a team of craftsmen hand-making high-quality, durable outdoor picnic benches, chairs, and tables for residential customers, restaurants, bars, and hotels. Using beautiful cuts of redwood, our products are extremely desirable and made to last a lifetime.
You can order your patio and garden furniture online and from the convenience of your home or workplace. Alternatively, you can contact our team to discuss discounts on bulk garden furniture orders.