Garden accessories sales rocket up
Gardening – a favourite hobby for many Russians – is becoming more sophisticated as incomes rise and consumer tastes change. It's spawned a surge in sales of professional gardening equipment and high quality garden furniture.With wages rising and consumer tastes becoming more sophisticated in Russia the DIY chains are catering for a new breed of spenders.During the Soviet era, country gardens were the only source of fresh fruit and vegetables for many families. Now they have become a place of leisure. Russian gardeners are increasingly opting for lawns and alpine plants, over potatoes and carrots.The majority takes gardening up as a hobby and prefers to do their own landscaping. So sales of gardening equipment, particularly machines, have increased. Russians are spending more money than ever before on garden accessories – and not just equipment but furniture – garden tables, chairs, chaise lounges. All these can now be bought from ware-house type chain stores. The popularity of such centres is growing at a phenomenon rate, creating tough competition for open-air markets – the only alternative for Russian datcha-owners.“It's a niche sector of the market, it's not well-developed but there's a big emergence of DIY chains, of gardening chains, of very specific retailers that focus primarily on selling either gardening furniture or outside furniture or things that are much more of a lifestyle factor,” said Viktoria Grankina, Senior analyst at Troika Dialog Group, Moscow. Quite naturally, a set of chairs and a table is necessary in a house for one family. Now the demand is growing for garden coaches, hammocks, swings, lighting, ornaments, ceramics, even ponds and fountains. A fountain can cost US$ 35,000 – and not only in the capital.“Chains are expanding into the regions as the regional customer is also becoming wealthier. In the regions the wage growth is actually higher than it is in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It's coming from a lower base but trends are still there – disposable incomes are growing at a fast pace, there is a lot of rouble liquidity and people want to enjoy life and it's really pent-up demand for things that they could not afford before,” added Ms Grankina.Foreign chains currently have a sizable edge over Russian retailers. In the near future analysts expect even more foreigners to come in and take a share of this lucrative market.