This week I attended GLEE, the leading gardening trade show at the NEC. I can’t believe how quickly the year has passed since my last visit. Catching up with clients and my wider network at the show they were all in good spirits, despite a difficult year with the unpredictable weather, an early Easter, and of course, the post-Brexit pricing issues. The gardening sector is certainly going from strength to strength, there are a reported 26 million gardeners in the UK, and the younger generations are starting to become increasingly interested too. This was certainly reflected in some of the 'techy' products on show, linking them to apps and mobile devices.
Ann Marie-Powell, one of the UK’s best-known garden designers, outlined the trends that are going to be around in the coming years; structural tones, houseplants, rock gardens, bold colour, nostalgia plants, edible, native plants, front gardens and dine and recline. There was certainly evidence of some of the above at the show, with lots of bold colours, again appealing to the younger gardener. Another area that really stood out for me was the outdoor living and dining products on show. There was an abundance of fire pits as well as new and unusual furniture.
One particular product that caught my eye was the Fire Box BBQ Pizza Oven, being showcased by La Hacienda. Rather than spending £1500 on a pizza oven for a garden, this little device sits on top of your existing BBQ and cooks great tasting stone baked pizzas. They were cooking a few on the stand I can confirm that they were going down well with all the visitors to show, including myself!
The show was certainly well attended by some of the large DIY retailers and their buying teams, and according to my network, they were impressed by some of the new concepts and ideas on show. However, there was disappointment voiced in regard to the lack of independent retailers in attendance. GLEE is the largest garden trade show in the UK, so it's a missed opportunity for them to identify trends and become aware of potential bestsellers for the coming year.
Finally, e-commerce is still high on the agenda for the sector, with my clients and network all still focused on growing their online marketing and sales. One of their frustrations is the increasing cost of Google, and as a result, all are looking to find new ways of engaging with their customers, and drive sales. One my contacts, who recently expanded into Europe and America, has just recruited a new Head of Online and has brought forward their e-commerce strategy by 12 months in order to maintain their competitive advantage as a B2C business.
I really enjoy partnering clients in the DIY and Garden sector and love being part of an industry that is working hard to be "on trend" and continues to be innovative and passionate about what they do. I look forward to sharing more market insights with you over the coming months and seeing what trends become popular both as a consumer and as an executive search consultant.
To find out more about Collingwood’s Executive Search and Leadership Consultancy expertise in the Garden and DIY sector get in touch +44 1829 732374.