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GIMA Day Conference

30 days ago by Rae Goss

​Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the annual GIMA conference at the wonderful Horticultural House. This event brought together industry leaders, experts, horticultural enthusiasts, and at least one recruiter! The event was a melting pot of ideas, discussions, and revelations about the ever-evolving landscape of the garden industry. Below are the key takeaways from a very informative and engaging day.

Market Update and Predictions for 2024

Dave Denny, Director of Research and Insights at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), kicked off the conference by sharing valuable insights into the garden retail market. Here’s what we learned:

Market Growth: Despite challenges, the garden retail sector continues to grow. The demand for green spaces, sustainable living, and wellness drives this upward trajectory.

Predictions: Dave highlighted trends such as a decrease in homeownership leading to a decrease in the younger generation spending money on outdoor plant. As we move forward, expect the importance of environmentally friendly Garden Centres to increase as well as the value of gardens and green spaces.

The Current Financial State of Global Retail Makers

Mark Whiteley, Director at credit insurance brokers, and Fiona O’Brian, from TMHCC (a global provider of trade credit insurance), dissected the financial health of the market. Key points included:

Retail Environment: The industry faces economic uncertainties, but resilience prevails. Retailers must adapt to changing consumer behaviours and embrace digital transformation.

Risk Management: Credit insurance plays a crucial role in safeguarding businesses against financial risks. Understanding creditworthiness and managing cash flow are vital.

E-Commerce as a Sales Channel

Jack Cooper, Commercial Director at RT7, emphasized that e-commerce cannot be ignored. His insights:

Numbers Don’t Lie: E-commerce is a game-changer. Exclusive stats from Amazon reveal the growing influence of online sales in the gardening sector.

Adapt or Perish: Retailers must optimize their online presence, enhance user experience, and leverage data-driven strategies.

Sustainability and the Journey to Net Zero

Mike Burks, Managing Director of The Gardens Group, shared his commitment to environmental and sustainability principles. His garden centres prioritize eco-friendly practices.

Cost vs. Impact: Sustainability initiatives come at a cost. Businesses must strike a balance between environmental responsibility and financial viability.

My Biggest Takeaways

Generational Shift: The retiring generation leaves a void. Younger people, burdened by housing affordability, show less interest in gardening. Owning homes remains a prerequisite for gardening.

Sustainability Struggles: While sustainability is a priority, practical implementation isn’t always cost-effective. Businesses grapple with finding eco-friendly solutions without compromising product quality.