The UK’s aquatics and water-gardening industry has been boosted by a huge surge of interest in garden ponds during the coronavirus lockdown.
With the country forced to ‘stay at home’ at the peak of the covid-19 crisis, it seems many households turned their attentions to building a wildlife or fishpond in the garden.
And that fact has proved good for business for those AQUA 2021 exhibitors specialising in pond-related products.
AQUA 2021 is the UK’s leading aquatics and water-gardening industry exhibition, taking place at the Telford International Centre on October 13-14 next year.
Show organiser Gordon Thomas has been in regular contact with exhibitors over the past three months and was struck by the number of companies reporting strong business during the lockdown period, especially those supplying products for garden ponds.
Pondxpert, for instance, has seen a large increase in demand since mid-April, and the company’s Tom Jeffery said it didn’t seem likely to be diminish any time soon.
“We are on course to have our most successful season ever, which was helped by our ability to have all of our full season’s stock ready for sale well before the season started,” he said.
“We have also seen a continued increase in the number of new retailers coming on board throughout this period as they look to capitalise on the new surge in the popularity of gardening and, by extension, garden ponds. I know that many of our retailers have had their busiest periods ever, too, and the industry seems pretty excited by the fantastic demand the public has shown in pond products over the past two months.”
It is a similar story for leading pond-liner manufacturer Gordon Low.
Director Ruth Low said: “We have been incredibly busy throughout the lockdown period. We haven’t experienced anything like it, not even in the days of Charlie Dimmock and ‘Ground Force’.
“Throughout April and May we received a phenomenal amount of orders. We worked through weekends and extra hours overtime, and still we were only just keeping up.
“I hope that all this frantic digging of ponds bodes well in follow-up sales for our lovely retailers who could be busy for years to come.”
According to the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association, ponds and home aquariums have been an important source of relaxation during these stressful times.
OATA’s chief executive Dominic Whitmee said: “Lockdown offered people more time to concentrate on home-based hobbies, including setting up or looking after aquariums. The weather was also perfect to spruce up gardens and to add a pond. It’s great to hear that people have been investing in home aquariums and garden ponds because we know how good both can be for mental health.”
Now firmly established as a biennial event, AQUA 2021 is set to attract the major companies in the trade, which acknowledge the importance of exhibiting their products and services to aquatic and garden centre retailers, all under one roof.
As well as getting to see all the new products to be launched on to the market, visitors will also be invited to join exhibitors at an AQUA dinner on the first evening of the exhibition. The dinner is one of the main highlights of the event, where guests get the chance to relax with fellow industry colleagues.
To discover more reasons why AQUA has become a vital date in the water gardening and aquatics trade calendar, retailers and suppliers can view comments about the 2019 event in a special video at https://vimeo.com/371139081.
More details about AQUA 2021 can also be found on the website www.aquatelford.co.uk