By NZHJ June 30, 2016 International News

UK DIY & gardening is growing, albeit slowly - is there growth enough to accommodate all the players and their new strategies?

"Big bets placed - who will win?", a new report from UK retail consulting firm mdj2, makes no bones that the British DIY market is and will likely remain a tough, tight market.

Indeed, in the first few pages of the document, the firm not only paints a picture of the market's recent and modest recovery (to £11 billion in 2015) but also reminds us that it's the non-traditional players (Screwfix), specialists (Topps Tiles etc) and value players (B&M, The Range etc) with a broader product offering which have seen the most growth.

The traditional DIY players (B&Q, Homebase, Wickes) have not fared as well and, as we know, have been rethinking their offerings, retrenching their networks and paring back costs.

Faced with the prospect of just 2%  annual growth for the foreseeable future (thanks mainly to gardening which will continue to outperform DIY), and a fragmented marketplace, what are the prospects for the UK channel?

"We believe that the next three to five years will see radical change that will impact on consumers, retailers and suppliers," says the report.

Change in the form of a new EDLP-style direction and new branding as Homebase becomes Bunnings.

Change in the form of B&Q adopting some of the more successful elements of its Kingfisher stablemates and becoming an "IKEA for DIY" as mdj2 puts it.

Change in the form of Kingfisher making more of a rapidly growing Screwfix network

Change in the form of range extensions and store network expansion at the quietly achieving Wickes.

Change in the form of more focused competition from not only the value players but also the category specialists.

Then there are the garden centre operations (Wyevale, Dobbies) which will continue to compete for the green Pound with their specialist offering and cafes.

Every day low prices are already becoming the norm and not a point of difference.

Business will also be diverted from the traditional DIY brands by online-only pure players.

The report's bottom line? "Not enough market growth to go round"...

To obtain a copy of the report, email the authors at

share this