Product revival excites potted garden market
The garden and outdoor living market has experienced a substantial resurfacing of late, particularly with indoor plants making a substantial comeback, according to Seasol International Home Garden Marketing Coordinator, Sue Edwards.
It seems indoor and potted plants have become the new interior décor for homes, a revival from the 1975 – if you remember that far back, Ms Edwards said.
“TV, magazines, social media, along with garden and hardware stores, are all now talking about carrying a huge range of indoor and potted plants. To keep these popular plants healthy and happy, a new range of garden care products are now on the market including Seasol’s PowerFeed Pots and Plants Ready to Use Spray 750 millilitres, which is specifically designed as an easy applicator for indoor and potted plants. It is a highly concentrated product, so users only need to spray onto the surface of the soil,” she said.
In saying this, consumers have also begun to look more below the surface to help improve soil health, as they realise there is quite a lot involved in keeping a plant or lawn healthy.
“Many consumers have become aware that microbial and worm activity are very important if they want good plant and lawn health above the ground. Products that contain liquid compost (humus) and seaweed can help improve the population and health of these little creatures to ensure they work happily and productively within the soil,” Ms Edwards said.
“One such product is our new ‘Seasol Lawn & Turf Starter’, which is a natural product to our lawn care range that has a dynamic combination of higher concentration of Seasol Plus Liquid Compost, making it ideal for establishing lawn seed and turf in one easy hose-application.”
Ms Edwards also believes consumers continue to show an interest in trying out new products, particularly as they show a consistent adoption for lines that are unique to these segments.
“These two new products were launched to increase the speed of treatment, while also making it easier for the consumer to use. It really is very exciting to see consumers try new products. We also have some very exciting new products to be launched in the near future and into 2020, but unfortunately we cannot disclose them just yet,” Ms Edwards said.
“Garden sales are already building in the north of the country, with Queensland and the Northern Territory the first states to start the season in June to August. Sales growth gradually builds all the way down the country and really kicks off (excuse the pun) after the AFL and NRL grand final weekend,” she said.
In the lead up to the 2019 garden season, Ms Edwards believes Seasol has the ability to stay ahead of its competitors, because it is a family owned Australian business that has its core roots in the natural and organic based plant and soil health care products.
“While the garden and outdoor living market does remain quite competitive, because there are so many working in the industry, the market is always developing and looking how to do things better. While issues such as the weather are always the biggest potential issue in this market, I think all suppliers into this market are in it for the greater good and I believe we are all improving the way we do things for a better environment and future,” she said.
Takasho takes off
Takasho Australasia has also recently finalised its spring range, adding an incredible 145 new products to its ever-increasing collection. Its range has become so big, Takasho opened another warehouse in Melbourne and employed a new National Account Manager, Fred De Haan, to cater for the budgeted growth, according to Managing Director Andrew Hogg.
“One of the most exciting products to be launched this year is our VegTrug Grow Care range. We have also increased our garden accessories range to include coco support poles, sprayers, watering cans and plant ties.”
“With the ever-increasing growth of indoor plant sales, we have also continued to increase our range of metal indoor planters. Garden décor is also still a large part of our business and we have introduced a new range of figurines for indoor and outdoor use,” Mr Hogg said.
Mr Hogg said that new product launches within the category are always well received by consumers, which is why Takasho continually maintains and adds to its existing range of hardware lines.
“These new lines include wire hooks, hanging baskets, brackets, plant ties, thermometers etc. and these have become standard lines that sell well year in, year out. With our décor lines, as they are more ‘fashionable’ items, we try to change or refresh the décor range every six to 12 months depending on how fast the market changes with regard to the ever-changing trends in colour, texture, etc,” he said.
“We expect the VegTrug Grow Care range will create a lot of excitement as this has added new technology to the garden market and I believe the Grow Care Home Sensor has been launched just in time to take advantage of the indoor plant phenomenon.”
“A huge portion of indoor plant sales has been attributed to Millennials. This demographic has largely missed out on learning about gardening that traditionally has been passed down by parents or grandparents. They are also tech savvy, spending ample time on mobile devices and apps. The Grow Care App is easy to use, is packed full of plant care information and the Grow Care sensor provides plant care information on specific plants with regard to light, water, fertiliser and temperature requirements,” Mr Hogg said.
With the Takasho Group boasting sales offices and factories all around the world, including Japan, UK, USA, Germany, Taiwan, Korea, China, India and Vietnam, it allows the global product development team to constantly work on new launches.
“We are in constant contact with each other, sharing market information including emerging trends from the different regions. We are also innovative. We have a global network with the ability to keep an eye on emerging trends around the world. We are a publicly listed company (listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange) and we are nicely placed due to owning our own factories in Japan and China. We also have our own team of quality assurance staff from Japan that monitor production on site in our Chinese and Japanese factories to Japanese quality standards.”
“The current market is, and always has been competitive and there are plenty of players selling same or similar products. The trick is to try to be a little different with regard to range, making sure quality is spot on and that we strive to have offer exceptional service,” Mr Hogg said.
While inconsistencies in product standards remain throughout the industry, Mr Hogg believes the bottom line is consumers believe they get what they pay for.
“Imported products can be a very high standard, but unfortunately, they can also be low quality depending on what the customer wants to pay. I remember 10 to 15 years ago suppliers were asked go to their Chinese factories and ‘de-engineer’ quality products to reach price points that had never been seen in the Australian market. Over time, consumers have become tired of paying cheap prices for poor quality that does not last and I can see a swing towards fair pricing for an acceptable quality product.”
Takasho will continue to grow and evolve its business and maintain its presence in the market globally by attending many shows in the upcoming months, including Waratah Distributors Trade Show in Launceston in mid-July, IGC (Independent Garden Centres) Conference in Sydney in late July, Green Expo on the Gold Coast in August and Spoga/Gafa in Germany in September.