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Green stylist Romeo Sommers highlights trends for 2018

Social changes are having growing influences on how end consumers react to products and services. Increasing importance is being attached not only to quality and function but also to other factors. At hortivation 2018, the green stylist and trendwatcher Romeo Sommers will outline what trends are emerging from these societal developments. From January 23 to 26, Hall 13 at IPM Essen will be the central port of call for turnover-driving sales ideas. In this respect, particular attention will focus on three trends: "Family Garden", "Eat Your Greens" and "The New Gardener".

To an ever greater extent, consumers are concentrating on the "significance" of a product or a service: What does the plant stand for? What sense does it fulfil? End consumers are increasingly demanding products which are reconcilable with their individual lifestyles and highlight their own identities. Anybody who travels around the world as a globetrotter wishes not only for a resilient plant - it must also emphasise the cosmopolitan character of the owner with its exotic flair. This development is resulting in new trends and sales possibilities for garden centres.

Family Garden: Sustainability as a Societal Megatrend
Sustainability as a green lifestyle: For many people (particularly for millennials), a small CO2 footprint or a good ecological balance sheet are, in the meantime, identity-defining properties which they want to pass on to the following generation, too. In this respect, sustainability does not necessarily mean doing without. New technologies and products are making it possible to live sustainably and, at the same time, comfortably. The question about the world in which their own children will live is concerning parents to an increasing extent and is having effects on their way of life. Garden centres can use this increased awareness of environmental subjects and provide products which highlight and confirm this lifestyle. Consumers are looking for brands which are convincing due to their transparency and authenticity. Anybody who is worried about bee mortality likes to buy bee-friendly plants - in so far as they were produced in sustainable conditions. This subject is suitable, above all, in order to introduce children to gardening in a playful way. House plants are also making a comeback because of societal trends: In fast-moving times, house plants can be displayed as a source of relaxation and, at the same time, clean the air, ensure a pleasant indoor climate and improve the soundscape in the room.

Eat Your Greens: Health and Sustainability as a Culinary Trend
No matter whether because of ecological deliberations, deplorable conditions in industrial animal husbandry or health aspects: Ever more consumers are oriented to lifestyles which include healthy, animal-free food. For the green retail trade, that is an appropriate opportunity to offer a wider spectrum of fruit and vegetables which are suitable for cultivating on the balcony or in the garden. Edible blossoms which have conquered the restaurants in recent years or the boiling-down of food like in grandma's times are just two expressions of this general development. With sensual experiences, garden centres can accommodate their customers and use smells or taste offers to put them in the right mood for purchasing.

The New Gardener: Offering Customers the Possibility of Individualisation
To an increasing extent, consumers love to combine the most diverse products in order to create their own styles reflecting their personalities. In this respect, gardens offer the ideal playground in order to bring this creativity to life. Garden centres should therefore give their visitors the possibility of individualising products and include the consumer in the creation process to a greater degree. In this respect, an individually plantable tub in which customers can already combine plants with the most diverse colours, textures and sizes in situ is just one approach amongst many. Visitors would like to be surprised time and time again. For example, garden centres can use moving shelves and furniture in order to inspire customers once more during every visit and to offer a fresh shopping experience. The intelligent display of areas causes consumers to share their shopping experiences with the world via social media channels and to become valuable multipliers. However, even more is hidden behind the trend of the "The New Gardener": People have little time but nevertheless want to surround themselves with flowers and plants in order to get away from the stressful daily routine. The garden industry must thus launch on to the market products which make gardening time-efficient and possible without any complications. For example, these may be flower tubs with integrated irrigation or stress-resistant and low-maintenance plants such as succulents.

The trends for 2018 are showing that, in the future, the POS must be oriented to the living worlds of the clientele to an increasing extent. Consumers are no longer following but are dictating the rhythm. Consumers no longer buy any simple plants but would like plants which match their identities, confirm them in their values and ultimately give them good feelings. hortivation in Hall 13 at IPM Essen 2018 will present how that can be implemented for garden centres and what turnover-promoting sales ideas are resulting from them.

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