Retailers issue a garden furniture shortage warning - get yours now, while you still can

Struggling to find garden furniture in stock? This is why...

A garden furniture shortage will affect UK garden furniture suppliers – and gardeners planning to buy garden furniture this year. Supply issues, especially between China and the UK, are hitting furniture retailers big and small, with no immediate resolution in sight.

Related: Best garden furniture 2021: stylish outdoor seating

If you had plans of fulfilling your garden seating ideas with a new outdoor dining set you will need to act fast, or risk missing out. That is if you can find any outdoor furniture in stock which is no easy feat at the moment.

What is causing the garden furniture shortage?

In short, supply problems. Members of The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, which represents 70 manufacturers and wholesalers, had reported problems with garden furniture supply. Even flatpack giant IKEA was found to be facing a supply shortage at the moment, but they hope this will be resolved by the time lockdown ends.

outdoor with arm chair and wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

Things are considerably more difficult for smaller retailers, some of whom report having to spend months renegotiating shipping costs. 'We did it to get something in place because we can’t afford to ship containers at $8,000 to $10,000 a go,' Rob Mead, a consultant at White Stores told the BBC. Some retailers have seen astronomical hikes to shipping costs, measuring in thousands not hundreds for every shipping container.

outdoor with floral flag and wooden wall

(Image credit: Future)

Will garden furniture cost more in 2021?

Given the vast shipping hikes experienced by so many retailers, it is highly like that garden furniture prices will increase. Rob Mead explains, 'You can't just increase your price due to the fact that you're paying more to ship the product - that doesn't improve the quality of the item itself.' So, it is likely that the hikes will have to be compensated for through final retail price increases.

outdoor with chairs and table with plants on pots

(Image credit: Future)

This doesn't mean that every single item of garden furniture sold in the UK will cost more immediately – or indeed that all furniture ranges are out of stock. The situation does mean that you're more likely to have success buying garden furniture this year if you're flexible about the exact model or even brand you want to buy from.

You should also consider getting overstock items from last year, as they won't be affected. Many garden furniture retailers have stock year-round, not just in spring-summer, so take advantage of what's in stock now – don't wait until Easter, when demand for garden furniture rises sharply.

Related: Garden furniture deals: 6 affordable sets under £350 – buy now, ready for March 29th

Be prepared, and don't find yourself without an outdoor dining table on March 29th.

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.