News Ponds



23rd April 2013

by Sandra Pearce

A monthly snapshot and analysis of a different sector within the UK pet and aquatics industry

The market value of the total pond market is notoriously hard to ascertain – manufacturers we spoke to estimate this at anywhere from around the £50 million mark to around £23 million. Market researchers AMA Research has placed its figure at £33 million.

When it comes to the various sub-categories, for pre-formed ponds and liners, there is rough consensus of around the £6 million mark. However, figures are widely disparate across the others. For instance, Bermuda estimates the pump sector at £11 million, OASE and AMA Research at about £7 million, and Tetra at £4.5 million.

Accessories, including fish food and treatments, are estimated at £15 million by Bermuda, £8 million by OASE and AMA Research, and £6 million by Tetra. Bermuda suggests water features are around £5 million, and OASE in the region of £2.5 to £3 million.

The market is generally referred to as being flat, with bad weather not encouraging the creation of traditional ponds. The financial situation, housing market, smaller new-builds and the absence of aspirational TV shows like GroundForce have also all had an impact.

But it most certainly is not doom and gloom, and manufacturers are expressing upbeat sentiments. As Chris Wright, managing director for OASE (UK), says: “The pond market will always have a future as it’s very much a hobby for many people.” He suggests the so-called GroundForce factor created an ‘artificial boom’ and that the market has ‘simply retracted to a normal and sustainable level’.

Interpet has developed the Affinity Living Feature Pools to provide an easy and attractive option for those wanting to enjoy a water garden, but who are short of time and space. These have been designed so that ‘a consumer can purchase one in the morning, set it up, and then still have time to enjoy it in the afternoon’.

Tetra UK marketing manager Agathe Dias says one area retailers can focus on is home improvements by suggesting new ideas for gardens, which include smaller ponds and water features.

Consumers want convenience and high-quality products that do what they promise, she says, and water care and fish foods present good opportunities for retail sales – ‘but helping the customer understand how they work is vital’. Providing easy-to-use and practical solutions will not only maintain current pondkeepers’ interest, but also help encourage newcomers to the market.