Cologne: 24.–26.06.2025 #spogagafa

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An interview with market expert Oliver Mathys

Green update for the garden trade

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"I green you" is the motto of Oliver Mathys. As a recognised market expert of the garden industry and trend scout, he is designing the POS Green Solution Islands at spoga+gafa. The examples of best practice for the point of sale focus on current plant trend themes. We talk to him about the next edition, developments in the garden trade and the new customer expectations in the green industry.

Oliver Mathys © Oliver M. Consulting

Oliver Mathys (Bild: Oliver M. Consulting)

The garden as a habitat

Mr Mathys, in your capacity as a market and trend expert, which important developments are you currently observing in connection with the garden as living space?

Due to COVID, we have all started recognising and appreciating the value of leisure time and the work/life balance more. In the past the garden was often associated more with work rather than with relaxation. In the meantime, one realises that working in the garden can also provide a balance or relaxation. Turning to nature is considered to be valuable - globally as an individual we have little influence, but as a microcosm we can move a great deal.

Sustainable consumption is becoming increasingly important (Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

Sustainable consumption is becoming increasingly important for many consumers. © Koelnmesse GmbH

New customer wishes

What do the consumers of today expect from the green industry?

Getting away from work, problems and a bad conscious through to solutions. No expert jargon, but simply being shown how it is done. One wants to gather experiences oneself. To a certain extent, the green industry is the platform that can convey this. But one also expects trust and transparency: what, why and in what connection?

Sustainable consumption is becoming increasingly more important. Which themes currently play a role for the garden market in this connection?

Substrate is an important topic, i.e. peat-free soil and the right fertiliser, etc. Water consumption also plays a major role. It is about transparency here too, in other words which sections of the garden need which irrigation. The question "What comes from where?" is also topical - regional products are considered to be valuable assets.

Requirements of the younger generation

Especially the younger generation is an important target group. How have their demands and needs changed with regards to the garden industry?

Green is fun - but one also wants to have a sense of achievement. That is why line-ups are required with which comparably simple results can be achieved - so radishes and kohlrabi rather than the diva-like tomatoes that are trickier to grow. Indoor plants that even survive their owners being away on holiday for three weeks, which blossom every year and provide insects with nectar are in demand.

Guided Tours POS Green Solution Islands (Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

Guided tour to the POS Green Solution Islands with Oliver Mathys. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Transparency in retail

So, what should the stationary garden market trade pay more attention to in the future?

To transparency as to the origin with regards to the question what comes from where? In some cases less is more, back to basics through to easy-to-care for products. The line-ups should be clearly outlined and more manageable. What is the point in offering 40 different sorts of geraniums? Here a manageable offer provides a clear added value, which the specialised trade can create with a more targeted, more competent pre-selection.

Outlook for POS Green Solution Islands

For the meanwhile sixth time the visitors of the coming spoga+gafa can experience the POS Green Solution Islands that present examples of best practice for the point of sale. What can they look forward to there this year?

Three brands will present themselves for the first time among the examples of best practice: Sagaflor, Intratuin and Egesa Garten – this will allow the visitors to perceive differences quickly. We are observing a further development among our exhibitors this year, because they are taking on a clear responsibility and will demonstrate this with successful products. Furthermore, we are integrating many small stories again: It is about themes like the natural classroom, urban farming, flower walls, the natural garden and much more - this can all be portrayed very well at the POS to inspire and impress customers in the day-to-day business.

The future of the garde trade

How do you envisage the future of the garden trade?

Even more social responsibility as a platform that unites all generations. And a great focus on solutions - green lung for urban regions as an example. Here the plants will play an even more central role. Furthermore, there will be a parallel world with smaller local shops in the trade because a regional supply of products has to be guaranteed. A large parent company could then have four to five smaller subsidiaries in the urban area in future.