Retail

Amazon enters garden goods space as online plant sales bloom

Priscilla Pho /

Mobile plant shopping

Trends in online shopping and plant popularity are growing.

Amazon Australia is looking to cash in on surging demand for gardening equipment online, opening a dedicated store this week selling everything from outdoor pools to lawnmowers.

As young renters push up demand for gardening goods, the world’s biggest e-commerce company has taken a dive into the category, saying Tuesday that backyard fixtures of the past are “fading out of fashion”.

Launched today, the store has been designed to appeal to millennials attitudes about the Aussie backyard, timed ahead of the coming summer period.

“Australians love the outdoors and as the temperature starts to warm up, there’s no better time to get outside and relax,” Amazon’s Aussie country manager Rocco Braeuniger said in a statement circulated Tuesday.

The investment comes as online sales for outdoor goods boom, up 17.4% year-on-year in 2018, according to Australia Post, which also identified garden products as an up and coming import category in Australia.

Amazon cites several trends for the timing of their store opening, chief of which is an increasing interest in planting and homegrown vegetables among millennials. They also mention key findings in wishlists featuring outdoor and ‘grow your own’ items, and a broader desire to take up supporting activities such as beekeeping and raising chickens.

If you need any more proof that Australian consumers are DIY mad, Bunnings also recently switched on the click-and-collect function of its online store.

Bunnings’ online store also topped the list of most-visited Australian online retailers in the first quarter of 2019.

Those looking to add their small business tree to the online gardening forest should consider Amazon’s new store as an opportunity, retail expert Pippa Kulmar says.

“I think for small businesses, it’s always an avenue if they want to use the platform to grow their products, they’ll have an extra point of distribution,” Kulmar tells SmartCompany.

“But otherwise expanding their categories is just one of the things that Amazon will do. It’s not going to be their sole focus.”

In vogue

Although fewer young Australians can now afford to buy their own homes, the need to personalise living spaces is still at a high. Potted and houseplants offer the rising proportion of Australians renting properties a practical solution.

Social media is helping to push popularity for indoor and potted plants among millennials and Gen Z renters. These trends coincide with another growing demand: the convenience of being able to shop from anywhere, for anything, and have it delivered to your door.

“DIY is becoming more limited with the younger generation … so gardening is the perfect solution

“Because you can’t really renovate, you can’t really paint, so it’s going to be things that are superficial to the house,” Kulmer says.

According to the latest census, 10% of Australians now live in apartments — a figure that correlates to the growth in Google search terms for vertical gardens, hanging plants and a variety of indoor plant species.

“Gardening is huge on the back of that because everyone’s got plants inside or they’re trying to make their apartment a mini garden,” Kulmer adds.

#plantsofinstagram

Social media has also played a role in the rise of green thumbs. The Instagram hashtag #plantsofinstagram boasts 3.7 million photos, more than double that of #avocadotoast at 1.3 million. Many of the popular posts even have names and come from so-called ‘Instagram plant influencers’.

Phrases such as “plant parenthood” are also entering the internet vernacular. Last year, data analysts at Pinterest noted a stagnation of pet searches while plant-related searches have increased 97%.

And it’s not just personal living spaces either, with 2019 ‘office trend listicles’ heavily featuring low-maintenance pot plants.

NOW READ: Bunnings tops list of most-visited online retailers despite not having full online store

NOW READ: E-commerce tips from online retail experts

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Priscilla Pho

Priscilla is a reporter at SmartCompany. You can contact her at [email protected].