Water, a crucial issue

Watering suffered from setbacks in 2023. But the future is still bright for a sector that has to provide answers to many challenges.

The watering market slowed sharply in 2023. “The market was at a low ebb last year," says Nicolas Toran, Marketing Director at Hozelock, "dropping to 2020 levels, mainly because of the drought and the watering bans." If the weather in 2024 so permits, sales should return to a healthy level, especially as the market is not yet mature. Producers and retailers are ready and offering solutions in an area that is of increasing concern to the French: care for the environment, lower water bills and bans on watering. A concern reinforced by the demands of local authorities.

An array of solutions
Fortunately, the range is extensive and varied. It starts with the choice of potting soil, which often includes water retention systems. Mulches have also become essential in recent years for reducing water loss. Hoses and hose reels are also a must, and sales are still riding high. While watering cans are indispensable, automatic watering systems are becoming increasingly popular with gardeners, whether for daily watering or to fill in when on holiday. This type of watering, in particular drip irrigation and microporous hoses, is the most economical in terms of water consumption, as long as consumers are helped to find their bearings. Julie Hoang, marketing director at Gardena, confirms the need for education when it comes to rational water use: "We've come up with new colour codes on the packaging to identify each application, depending on the type of plant and how it's installed: pot plants, flower beds, vegetable patches, etc. This makes it easier for users to find their way around. Even the connectors are colour-coded, because we realised that it was complicated."
Watering programmers are also very popular with gardeners. This sector is still growing. Some of the latest models are equipped with a solar sensor and a pump. "Water-saving devices and rainwater harvesters have been particularly popular this year," adds Nicolas Toran. Sales figures are not available, but these products were a big hit last year, with double-digit growth. Yet another sign that the French are becoming more aware of the need to conserve water resources.

3 products to highlight

Ingenious
Based on an ancestral technique, the ollas made by the Lutton pottery deliver water directly to the roots of plants. The outcome is a 50 to 70% saving on the precious resource, even during the holidays.
Remote
The smart Water Control irrigation programmer produced by Gardena automatically waters your garden. Cycles can be planned at any time and remotely. The ideal way to manage water requirements with total precision.
Stocked
Made from plastic recycled using wind power, the Green Basics water butt from Elho has a capacity of 110 litres. Thanks to its design, including a planter on top, it can be installed on a patio or balcony.
Mobile
The Hozelock Auto Reel allows gardeners to water anywhere in the garden without having a hosepipe lying around on the lawn, as it rewinds by itself. Its 35 m of hose, made from 20% recycled materials, covers a large watering area.

By David Fouillé