The economic situation in Romania and in Eastern Europe, as a whole, is improving. The purchasing power of Romanians is rising, disposable incomes are higher, and consumers have more money to spend on items that are traditionally not considered strictly necessary, such as gardening products.
Under these circumstances, in 2018 sales in the romanian gardening sector recorded 12% retail value growth to reach RON631 million (about €140 million), higher than the Eastern European regional average of 7%, according to Euromonitor International. With around half of the population living in rural areas and the highest home ownership rates in Europe, the number of households having access to a garden is still high.
Megatrends Impact on Gardening
There are 4 megatrends that have the potential to shape the gardening industry. The market frontiers are shifting due to the massive migration to the cities and the urbanisation trend. Apartment living will result in smaller green/garden spaces, and manufacturers will need to be creative to tempt millennials towards gardening as an activity.
Therefore, the increased involvement of technology in gardening is paramount. The profile of the consumer is also changing. Ethical living and concern for sustainability created a more aware and educated consumer with a strong desire for self-sufficiency. Therefore, locally produced or home-grown products are in strong demand.
Connectivity is the buzz-word that describes millennials who have a busy and on-the-go lifestyle and an acute need for being up to date. The necessity of having everything “one click away” will encourage further involvement of technology in gardening activities. The high penetration of the internet and smartphones will not only facilitate smart gardening, but also a reinvented shopping experience. One of the fastest-growing channels is internet retailing, one which, with services such as click-and-collect, is expected to continue gaining share over the forecast period.
Automatisation and Innovation in Gardening
It is expected that companies will invest in products that allow users to save time and money, and limit the effort needed to take care of the garden. This will include a focus on Internet of Things (IoT) technology, with efficient and innovative gardening solutions, such as hydroponics and “smart gardening”.
Gardening sales in Romania show that gardening equipment is the category most affected by technological innovation and consequently shows the greatest dynamism. Similarly, the trend towards cordless (i.e. battery-powered gardening tools) and lawn mowers using lithium-ion technology will continue to grow.
The presence of mobile apps in gardening activities is expected to increase significantly. Apps such as “Garden Compass Plant and Disease” help users identify what is wrong with their plant by simply submitting a photo of it. Another affordable and innovative gadget is a sensor that is inserted in the soil and once connected to a mobile or web app can combine weather or species information found online with the plant’s vital measurements, such as soil moisture or sunlight, and provide valuable advice.
Also, another increasingly popular option is the smart pot, which offers constant updates on plants. “Click and Grow” is a game-changer in how fresh food is grown. It features fast and easy-to-use self-growing indoor garden technology inspired by NASA Smart Soil technology that offers all the necessary factors for a plant to grow: water, oxygen, nutrients and light.
Technology is not only present in the plant growing process, but also in their maintenance. For example, robotic lawn mowers that need no human supervision and can work regardless of weather conditions, but also incorporate a strong antitheft mechanism. For example, Automower Connect from Husqvarna emphasises the role of connectivity with its highly user-friendly interface. Similarly, smart watering systems are welcomed by Romanian consumers. Irrigation systems, such as Miyo, supply plants with water when the sensors consider it is needed and can be controlled and monitored through a mobile app.
The Future of Gardening
The forecast for the Romanian and Eastern European gardening industry is positive. There is considerable room for growth, given that the market has not yet reached maturity. The Romanian gardening industry is expected to reach sales of RON908 million (about €200 million) in 2023, according to Euromonitor International.
Currently, the penetration of smart devices in gardening is quite low in comparison with other regions, such as Western Europe or North America, due to significant differences in economic, business and governmental environments.
However, sustainability and healthy living trends will persist over the forecast period, finding favour with millennials, particularly in garden care and horticulture. Nevertheless, gardening will remain an activity conducted mainly by the older generation, while still struggling to appeal to younger generations.
Gardens are now akin to an “outdoor” room, reducing the time taken to maintain a garden. The function of gardens will continue to morph from an area used to grow plants and flowers towards a social space for entertaining friends and relaxing. Also, as the likelihood of owning a private garden is declining, gardening players are rethinking their product offering in favour of indoor gardening.
An analysis by Irina Suciu, analyst at Euromonitor International.
This article is part of the CEE DIY retail category from www.bricoretail.ro B2B publication and bring together news, in english, from Central and Eastern markets related with DIY and home improvement retail
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