Patio heater sales soar as homeowners prepare for a winter lockdown

Sam Meadows
·3-min read
Garden pizza ovens have also been proving popular in recent weeks - Richard Drury/Getty Images
Garden pizza ovens have also been proving popular in recent weeks - Richard Drury/Getty Images
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

Homeowners are getting ready for a winter lockdown sending sales of patio heaters and pizza ovens through the roof.

Under the new tier rules, those in tier two can only mix with other households outdoors, leading many to take steps to get their garden ready for Covid-compliant socialising.

Home improvements were a common theme of the first lockdown, but the tropical temperatures meant that the garden was more likely to be ignored in favour of home offices and kitchen goods.

However, with the chillier weather being matched with further coronavirus restrictions and a possible circuit-breaker lockdown on the cards in the winter months, home owners are keen to make sure their houses are ready.

Sales of outdoor heating products at John Lewis were up by a staggering 1,625 per cent last week compared to the same week in 2019. The retailer said this was a record for the time of year.

Similarly, sales of pizza ovens, a popular garden accessory for the well off, were also up by 348 per cent.

The coronavirus three-tier system explained
The coronavirus three-tier system explained

This is an exponential increase in a trend that had already been seen as the nights began to draw in and speculation over a second wave of coronavirus cases began to gather pace.

The past two months saw outdoor heating increase in popularity by 77 per cent compared to the months before, with barbecues and fire pit sales rising by 29 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.

Lucy Rees, assistant outdoor buyer at John Lewis, said: “Our customers have been making the most of their outside space this year, buying outdoor sofas, bistro sets or garden games. But now the colder months are ahead of us, customers are looking to make changes that mean they can be in this space for longer. 

“Adding a heater or a fire pit is one of the quickest ways to make your garden more inviting as the temperature drops and an open flame can make a lovely focal point. 

“Outdoor dining gives you more options in your own home and it means you don't have to say goodbye to delicious al fresco meals."

Online retailers have also seen an increase. Ebay said sales of outdoor furniture, including patio heaters, fire puts, barbecues and pizza ovens, had shot up by 71 per cent last week compared to the week before.

Patio heaters alone increased in popularity by 154 per cent.

Outdoor furniture sales
Outdoor furniture sales

Chris Gardner, director of home and garden at eBay, said: “Following the announcement of the new tiered lockdown system at the start of the week, the nation is preparing to spend more time outdoors despite the temperature drop. 

“At the time of year when outdoor furniture sales traditionally ease off, we’ve witnessed a significant jump in patio heater sales compared to just last week. 

"Sales of outdoor heating, cooking and eating equipment, including fire pits, BBQs and pizza ovens we have also seen increase rapidly.”

During the first lockdown children’s toys and home working equipment were among the most popular choices for those looking to make home improvements.

Figures released by John Lewis in May showed that in the days after schools closed a swingball set was sold every minute while sales of Lego sets surged by 240 per cent, while the order for people to work from home if they can sent demand for desks and premium office chairs soaring.