In the first quarter of 2017, the Belgian Home Improvement retail market achieved an increase in sales of 3.9% based on value. Amid signs of a moderately positive economic situation in Belgium and supported by excellent weather conditions, retailers experienced high demand for gardening products. In particular March 2017 turnover showed a stellar growth figure of more than 10%.
Turnover generated in the gardening categories was up 30% compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily due to increased sales of outdoor barbecues, lawn mowers and garden chemicals. However, the evolving legislative proceedings concerning the use of glyphosate may have a significant effect on sales figures for the plant protection category over the coming months. Analyzing the data for the outdoor barbecue category, it’s clear that the vast majority of products sold are still charcoal barbecues. Nonetheless, the popularity of gas barbecues seems to be increasing, with sales representing close to 40% of the category based on value. The sales of lawn mowers were driven by cordless and robot mowers.
While there is always some uncertainty surrounding any prediction, the increased adoption of cordless battery technology to drive a broad range of gardening products, supports the view that innovation will play a key role in shaping the future Home Improvement market. Adapting to a changing market and consumer expectations in a timely manner will present challenges, but more importantly, an opportunity to create sustainable growth for both retailers and manufacturers.
Kristof Scheys – Consultant Home & Living