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Getting ahead of the trends

In an ideal world, we would all be fully clued up on everything that is going to be popular with consumers well ahead of when the next big trend hits the streets and customers are clamouring to buy. We would be able to plan, be strategic about what might best suit our brand positioning or turnover most in any given retail location and we could buy, order or manufacture the most appropriate products in the most appropriate quantities, all with time to spare.

Knowing – ahead of the curve – what is going to be on trend is easier said than done, however. Using your very own trend forecasters is a serious investment for any business and accessing published research for every relevant product sector in the garden market sounds perfect, but could also prove expensive, unless of course, you can go through a trade association like BHETA!

For everyone who wants to know what’s up and coming but may not have the resources or contacts to go it alone in the world of trend research, here are a few thoughts. Firstly, reiterating trends which might be worth some thought – outdoor rooms and smart garden.

Outdoor rooms

Alfresco dining is no longer just about serving food outside courtesy of some decent garden furniture and a BBQ, this is now about the creation of fully resourced and styled outdoor rooms – lighting, flooring, heating, shelter, furnishing, and fully functional outdoor kitchen creation. It’s a recognition that limited indoor space can be addressed by a move to entertaining which takes place outside. This includes refrigeration, food preparation areas, fully fledged ovens, worktops, integrated sinks and drainage as well as the more obvious functional/decorative features such as stunning seating, firepits and pizza ovens.

Smart garden

According to Mintel’s 2018 report on consumer trends, Smart connected devices are right now moving into the mainstream. Almost half of consumers who are not already in the market are now interested in purchasing and of those, 26% said that could be persuaded to buy from the source which offered a free installation or set up / demo service. When it comes to garden equipment, Mintel’s facts and figures fit right in with what trend forecaster, Scarlet Opus calls the ‘Eco 2.0’ trend which pushes clever, environmentally conscious, adjustable controls. Time to show consumers just how clever garden equipment can be.

So, apart from these two what else should we be looking out for in garden retail? And where should we be looking? Well at risk of stating the obvious, it’s Glee time and exhibitions are a perfect source of free trend information. Clearly, an opportunity to look at new products, Glee offers much more in terms of seminar programmes and themed tours, focussing on up and coming or ‘hot’ consumer topics and how best to work with them. Day one (Monday 11th September) features three sessions led by award-winning garden journalist, Nick Bailey, featuring topics including: emerging trends in gardens, how to use garden shows, and ways to engage the youth in horticulture. Other ‘trends’ speakers include Charlie Dimmock on the themes she sees as the future, Romeo Summers on the ‘happy gardening’, seasonal opportunities, technology in the outdoors, easy gardening for millennials and community engagement.

Like many exhibitions, Glee will be food for thought. Don’t just use it to source products and enjoy show offers, important as they are. Use it for market intelligence too. It’s free advice, so be sure to take advantage.

To find out more about BHETA membership and access to trends advice and market data, contact BHETA on 0121 237 1130.

Source: BHETA 16th August 2018
August 2018

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