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Horticulture industry

Research guide

Published: 03 Jan 2019 Updated: 01 Dec 2020 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Online articles

The library provides full access to articles from leading business, finance and management journals.

Access to articles is provided subject to suppliers’ terms of use.

Useful links

Trade and policy: food, farming and agriculture
A collection of news and insights from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) exploring how changes in domestic policy and trading relationships will affect farming businesses now that the UK has left the EU.

Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition
Report published by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. Looks at the potential impact on farmers of the move to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme in England, following the UK’s departure from the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Published on 28 October 2021.

Survive and Thrive
Report from the Irish Farmers Journal and KPMG examining how the Irish agribusiness sector has adapted in the wake of the dual threat of COVID-19 and Brexit. Published on 21 May 2021.

Brexit prospects for UK horticulture trade
Bitesize report from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board which looks at levels of horticultural product exports/imports with the EU and other major global trading partners. The authors assess the opportunities and threats that might arise from Brexit. Published in February 2019.

Market research

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the DIY and gardening industry from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including landscape services; flower and plant wholesaling; garden supply and pet food stores; and flower and plant growing. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

A market report on UK garden product retailing is available from Mintel. An executive summary and a table of contents can be viewed.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

DEFRA publishes annual Horticultural Statistics on the area, yield, production, trade and valuation of fruit and vegetable crops grown in the United Kingdom. Some historic data on ornamentals is also shown

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Forestry and logging (02)
    See Section A: Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemical products (20.2)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Wholesale of flowers and plants (46.22)
    See Division 46: Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Retail sale of flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food in specialised stores (47.76)
    See Division 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Landscape service activities (81.3)
    See Section N: Administrative and support service activities
  • Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities (91.04)
    See Section R: Arts, entertainment and recreation

Horticultural Trades Association

The Horticultural Trades Association provides garden industry statistics which include the value of the UK garden market and number of garden centres and retail nurseries.

In October 2018 it produced the report The Economic Impact of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscaping in the UK. Includes the sector's contribution to GDP, employment and tax revenues.

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemical products (C202)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Wholesale of flowers and plants (G4622)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Retail sale of flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food in specialised stores (G4776)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Landscape service activities (N813)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Global statistics

International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH)

The AIPH publishes an annual Statistical Yearbook that gives figures on production, acreage and trade movements from the association's affiliated countries. A table of contents and several sample sections are available to view free of charge.


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Fertilizers and nitrogen compounds (2412)
  • Pesticides and other agro-chemical products (2421)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the CommodityTrade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Live trees, plants, bulbs, roots, cut flowers etc (06)
  • Fertilizers (31)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the IndustrialCommodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Potassic fertilizers, mineral or chemical (34)
  • Nitrogenous fertilizers, mineral or chemical (34)
  • Potassic fertilizers, mineral or chemical (except crude potash salts) (34)
  • Multi-nutrient fertilizers (34)
  • Pesticides (34)



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • agricultural and fishing trades;
  • farm workers;
  • farmers;
  • gardeners and groundsmen/groundswomen;
  • horticultural trades.

The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Forestry and logging (02)
  • Manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemical products (202)
  • Wholesale of flowers and plants (46220)
  • Retail sale of flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food in specialised stores (47760)
  • Landscape service activities (813)
  • Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities (91040)

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a section on pesticides and tree work, which includes latest regulations affecting this industry.

Farming businesses: working after Brexit transition
Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs for farming businesses from 1 January 2021. Areas covered include: Farm and rural payments; Importing and exporting; Marketing standards; Employees; Food and drink labelling; Genetically modified organisms (GMOs); Fertilisers; Pesticides regulations; Chemical regulations; Water regulations.

Agricultural transition plan 2021 to 2024
Policy paper from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs setting out the changes that will be made to agricultural policy in England from 1 January 2021. It also covers what these changes will mean for farmers and land managers. Published on 30 November 2020.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK business guides

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further resources

Horticulture industry guide: British Library
British Library industry guides provide listings of resources for industry-specific information, including print directories and materials held by the British Library.

Contact the British Library Business and IP Centre for more information.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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