The countdown is on to Glee making its in-person return post-lockdown (14th – 16th September NEC Birmingham), as exhibitors and visitors alike, eagerly await the chance to network, share ideas and celebrate new launches. The 2021 show will bring together hundreds of brands and thousands of exciting products under one roof, providing retail buyers with the first opportunity they’ve had in 18 months to ‘shop’ new ranges but also the chance to glean insight about top trends and consumer behaviour, helping to shape their offer and capitalise on opportunities in the market. Here, Glee exhibitors detail their bestsellers during a year that has seen unprecedented demand for garden products, whilst sharing market knowledge to give visitors an overview of what they can expect to see showcased in the halls at Glee this September.
Growing interest in gardening
With so many people spending more time at home as a result of lockdown, furlough and remote working, Primus has observed an increase in sales of many of its products over the past 12 months, with a huge uptake in demand for garden wall art – and butterflies – in particular. Steve Perry, Head of Marketing for Primus, says: “Everything was so unsure in March, when Coronavirus hit our shores but, fortunately, we have a strong supply chain, and we were able to have most stock in our warehouse. However, with everyone at home and spending so much time in the garden, butterflies were the first thing to sell out, even though we had already doubled up our stock!” Off the back of this, the 2021 range increased massively, with mirrors and silhouette art added, along with geckos. Steve continues: “The 2022 season will see more expansion in this hugely-popular area, and we can’t wait to show everyone the new products at Glee.”
Fiskars has also noted how interest in DIY and gardening has grown, as consumers adapted to changes to their lifestyle. Many homeowners found themselves with more time and money to invest in their property, whilst gardening was lauded as a therapeutic source of relaxation and comfort during the pandemic.
As a result, there has been an increase in the number of consumers purchasing lawn repair and garden tools, with sales of the Fiskars Xact™ Weed Puller surging during 2020, as more homeowners devoted their time to looking after their lawn properly.
The state-of-the-art Xact™ Weed Puller features a robust design and is crafted using advanced manufacturing techniques and materials. Developed with the consumer in mind, it has been specifically created for optimal durability, function, and comfort. The tool is innovative and eco-friendly and allows users to remove weeds without the use of chemicals.
Consumers have turned their attention to maintaining and revamping their garden; a space they have spent significantly more time in over the past 18 months. This trend lead to a surge in customer demand from both avid gardeners and also those getting to grips with their garden for the first time.
For first-time gardeners, products that are straightforward and easy to use, such as the Hozelock Auto Reel, became must-have items. The wall mounted hose system allows a 180-degree reach for all areas of the garden, without the need to untangle any kinks. Plus, its patented automatic rewind system means that putting the hose away is simple and quick – perfect for those who don’t want to spend time manually winding in a hose. The product experienced a 35% increase in sales in 2020 due to the surge in new demand.
Bathgate has also seen a boost from the growing number of Brits taking up gardening, with sales of all of its horticultural products rocketing over the past year. The company’s Multi-Purpose Compost (50 litre and 70 litre) and Enriched Topsoil have proved particularly popular with keen gardeners. Both are premium quality and highly versatile. The Multi-purpose Compost is ideal for seed sowing, cuttings, bedding plants, plug and pot plants, and can be used in trays, pots, tubs, baskets and containers. Natural and additive free, Bathgate’s Enriched Topsoil can significantly enhance soil and be used in beds and borders, as well as on lawns.
Making a difference
For those consumers growing their own for the very first time, the challenge of preventing pests attacking their carefully tended edible crops could prove frustrating. This, naturally, resulted in a rise in pest control products. However, the new breed of gardener that has emerged over the past 18 months has a strong focus on sustainability and leans towards the use of chemical-free, eco-friendly products in their outdoor spaces, which gave a welcome boost to firms like Gardening Naturally. “Our insect netting is still one of our top-selling products, protecting fruit and vegetables from most insect pests, including the cabbage white butterfly, pea moth, cutworm, leek moth and many further species of aphids. You can feed and water through the netting too which makes life easy.
“Customers are enthused by our insect netting as it is extremely easy to simply lay over crops, hoops and cages. The netting simply ‘grows’ with the crop as it is incredibly lightweight and easy to use. Any crop can be covered with this insect netting. Use this netting all year round, not only does it protect against insects it also gives protection against heavy rain, wind and mild frosts which is ideal for our ever-changing British climate.”
The push to reduce our impact on the planet and garden more responsibly continues to gain momentum. Sipcam Home & Garden used Glee 2020 to launch its ecofective concentrated ‘Refills’ range to help reduce plastic waste. The purpose of the 200ml Refill range is to encourage users to re-use their empty, original, RTU ecofective bottle by adding the concentrated refill and topping up with water. This saves the need of throwing away the larger, RTU bottle and instead the 200ml recyclable bottle can be recycled, creating less impact to the recycling process and, ultimately, less waste for the planet. “This is a new concept within the gardening world, but we’re seeing consumers really engaging with the range,” says the company. “We believe consumers are making more informed decisions when it comes to products and the packaging that’s being used, with POS data reporting a one (refill) in seven (RTU) ratio trend across a number of the refills, meaning for every seven RTU’s purchased, one refill is purchased. We had originally expected a one in 10 ratio, so this range is exceeding our expectations.”
A new organic feed range from Vitax has also proved a hit with gardeners for the 2021 season, as they look to boost their gardens with natural feeds. Vitax Organic All Purpose Plant Food and Vitax Organic Tomato Food have become two of Vitax’s bestsellers this season, along with popular gardening brands Vitax Q4, Slug Gone and 6X.
Both feeds use 100% natural, plant-based ingredients, are child-, pet- and bee-friendly and ideal for vegan gardening. Organic All Purpose Plant Food is rich in organic nutrients and completely versatile; a perfect choice for gardeners looking for a good all-round feed which help produce stunning flowers and fabulous crops of vegetables.
Meanwhile, Organic Tomato Food is a super concentrated, high potash fertiliser that benefits from iron and naturally present trace elements. It also contains magnesium – essential for tomato plant energy to produce an abundance of juicy tomatoes. Both new feeds are packaged in a recyclable bottle which carries the Organic Farmers & Growers approved mark.
A boon for outdoor living
It’s not just garden maintenance that saw a boost during the pandemic. Brits wanted to enjoy their outdoor spaces and maximise the time they could spend enjoying the garden (even on chilly evenings) – particularly, as Government guidelines meant that any chance to see friends and family usually revolved around being outdoors.
Demand for Mercer Leisure’s stylish Amalfi Square Fire Pit Garden furniture has skyrocketed over the past 12 months. This set is designed with luxury all-weather rattan, handmade from a high-quality natural, weave with varied textures and tones. It comes with an easy-to-use integrated fire pit that provides heat and a real centre piece in any garden. The cushions are also showerproof and machine washable. The Amalfi set comes with a five-year UV guarantee and offers quality, comfort and a durable addition to the garden.
Mercer Leisure says: “We believe the Amalfi set has performed so well this year because it provides quality at competitive pricing. The impact of COVID leading to the consumer trend for better outdoor living spaces has also benefitted our sales.”
The aesthetics of gardening are just as important as what gardeners are growing, as consumers enjoy putting their stamp on their outdoor spaces, especially with a carefully curated selection of pots and planters. B GREEN has seen customers fall in love with the look of naturally-patinated pots. Building on this success, the company recently introduced a glazed line and reports that one of the best-selling items in this already-popular range is the F. Available in a variety of colours, the glazed green/blue mix has sold particularly well in the UK. The pots are handmade by a little Vietnamese pottery and burnt in small ovens, meaning that the colors and patination are unique in every batch, allowing consumers to have something unique in their garden. “When so many pots on sale in the UK have a very uniform appearance, the fact that the glazed lace-pot has variations really appeals to customers,” says a representative for B GREEN. The pots can be used indoors, as well as outside in a greenhouse or garden environment, the soft colour combination of the LACEPOT makes it a versatile piece that can easily be mixed and matched with different pots or pieces from the B GREEN range.
“Longevity, confidence, trust, beauty, enviro-consciousness, and community: These are some of the positive attributes consumers are seeking in a post-Covid world,” says Henri Studio/Stonecasters “We deliver on all fronts. Our original outdoor fountain designs have stood the test of time, enhancing gardens around the world with visual and audible appeal. As families have ‘come back home’ and invested time and effort in beautifying their surroundings, a Henri Studio fountain or garden ornament has become the crowning touch in many landscape masterpieces. Our products are naturally made of limestone, sand, cement and water; a combination that will provide decades of enjoyment for the garden enthusiast.”
Opportunities in pet products
Another huge change in consumer behaviour was the sharp rise in pet ownership, as lonely consumers or those finding themselves at home more, welcomed four-legged additions to their family. The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) reported a “staggering rise in pet acquisition” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with dogs the most favoured pet, closely followed by cats.
The explosion of dog ownership during the pandemic has resulted in huge demand for toys and, as a result, the West Paw range of durable products reported a phenomenal increase in turnover of more than 250% in the UK over the past 12 months, with demand still strong. The most popular are the enrichment toys to help occupy and reward good behaviour, especially as playing with a mentally stimulating toy requires more energy than an hour’s walk in the park. The Zogoflex Toppl, Qwizl and Rumbl are the best-selling products in the range and, being made in the USA by a B-corp company, this brand ticks all the right boxes for consumers. Available in the UK from Collarways.
Goodchaps also recorded a significant rise in demand for its already-best-selling Pup’s 1st Fetch & Tug, an eco-friendly toy duo for puppies and smaller dogs. To capitalise on the trend, the company decided to launch a gift box aimed at these same consumers. Pup’s 1st Gift Box contains a set of handmade cotton rope toys, 150g of Goodchaps’ popular healthy training treats and a pocket-sized tin to keep them in.
For all this and much more, visit Glee at the NEC Birmingham this September and create a winning offer that will keep your customers coming back.
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