Despite the heavy snowfall in the winter, all production plants of Kekkilä-BVB, Europe’s leading growing medium manufacturer, have built up larger stocks during the first half of the year for the spring demand peak. In Central Europe, professional growers and home gardeners have already started cultivating. During the pandemic, people have been spending more time in the nature in their spare time, which increases the need for green spaces in urban environments. This is expected to have a positive effect also on the demand for Kekkilä-BVB’s landscaping business.
Last year, Kekkilä-BVB reached top sales. Net sales increased by 20 per cent from the previous year to EUR 300 million. The increase in net sales and demand came from all business units, i.e. professional growing, hobby gardening and landscaping. Retail sales to private consumers grew the most. Global sales of growing media sold to professional growers also increased despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. The pandemic closed borders and initially hampered transport in both Central Europe and the Nordic countries in the midst of the fresh-growing season. The pandemic also suspended sales for several months, which had begun well, e.g. to China and the USA.
The growth rate of consumer sales surprised
The most surprising effect of the pandemic was the very strong growth in demand for the products of the home gardening business. When people moved to remote work and almost all hobbies were restricted, gardening experienced an unprecedented growth momentum in Sweden, Finland and the Central Europe. The warm spring contributed to the start of the season and the season continued to be exceptional throughout the summer. Even so, that it was difficult for some products to meet the market demand. Growth is expected to continue this spring as well. Kekkilä-BVB has prepared for the growth in demand by increasing its production. It has a total of 12 production plants in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Estonia.
This spring many home gardeners are expected to start to buy garden products well in advance, as last year both plants and growing media ran out in many places.
According to Kekkilä-BVB’s survey, the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect on consumer behavior in Finland and Sweden. 40% had started gardening or got excited about it after a break and 35% of the respondents renewed their garden or otherwise did more gardening. The appreciation of local products has grown more than ever before and more than 60% of respondents want to grow their own food as well. Especially popular are leafy vegetables, herbs, chilies and other vegetables.