With consumers in North America and Europe spending increasing amounts of time in their gardens, the outlook for the garden tool and equipment market is bright.
The shopping lists of gardeners, as well as for wholesalers and retailers wanting to take advantage of the business opportunities inherent in this promising prospect, can hardly be filled without products from Taiwan. Over the past few decades, the island has come a long way toward becoming a major global manufacturing base for garden tools and gardening equipment.
Taiwan boasts a well-established gardening-product industry that meets the needs of gardeners worldwide.
Positive Trends Fuel the Market
The Garden Media Group, a U.S.-based gardening market research firm, has issued its 2014 Garden Trends Report,
which pulls together findings from global market research firms, consumer media, and experts in the home and garden industry to summarize consumer trends. These include growing concerns about responsible food waste management, increasing willingness to grow edibles and fruits in gardens and yards, more spending on dressing up gardens with simple elegance or exotic elements, growing attention to indoor greenery, the rise of "fingertip gardens," and more participation of young people.
The emergence of those trends points to the fact that consumers are spending more leisure time not just at home, but outdoors and in decorating their gardens, a transition being driven by both social and societal trends in which people are socializing more and hosting garden parties, lawn games, and brewing events. Additionally, the report says that concern for the natural world and for living a healthy life is affecting what consumers grow, what products they are investing in, and how they live out of doors. The shifting roles of the sexes are influencing how life is lived both outside and inside.
The report forecasts that under this scenario, the global market for gardening and outdoor living products will keep expanding by 3.5% yearly through 2016, when overall demand will reach US$220 billion. With the number of DIY gardeners estimated to have exceeded 85 million last year, food gardening has outpaced flower gardening as the major growth engine for the overall market.
Another upbeat sign for the global gardening market is that gardening spending per capita reached a three-year high of US$615 in 2013, according to the report. The figure is likely to keep growing because of many positive factors in addition to the above-mentioned trends, including the fact that the millennial generation will start to buy homes.
Taiwan will undoubtedly play a vital role in the bright future of gardening, with a complete supply chain for gardening tools and equipment as well as a solid reputation among global buyers. After years of promotion, Taiwan-made gardening products are much sought-after worldwide, particularly in developed countries, thanks mainly to the the improved quality and utility that have been achieved through manufacturers' constant passion for innovation. These products enable gardeners around the world to beautify and decorate their gardens easily and efficiently.
Following are introductions to selected gardening products from Taiwan--products which you may have used in your garden already, or which will soon be on the shelves of big-box stores and mass retailers near your home.
Ecorobot by Macauto
Although robot electric mowers were invented some time ago, such products have begun to be accepted in the market only in recent years, thanks mainly to technological advancements, especially in sensor and battery technologies, that help improve their functionality. Taiwan entered the robot mower market when a local listed firm, Macauto Industrial Co., Ltd., launched its Ecorobot.
Scott Chen, sales manager of Macauto's Cordless Garden Tool Division, emphasizes that Ecorobot has a lot of growth potential, given that consumers are increasingly focused on using eco-friendly tools to maintain their gardens. This new product has caught the attention of Japanese and European buyers and will be exported to Japan and Europe soon.
Ecorobot offers great mobility and utility, thanks mostly to the use of high-end sensor technology.
Ecorobot features a cutting system composed of four pivoting blades, totally 250mm in diameter and 1mm in thickness, and uses a 24V cutting motor with speed of 4,250rpm to achieve a cutting speed of 0.8-1km an hour. For smooth mobility, the device has several sensors for detecting tiling and lifting, as well as barriers and rain, and a 2,050rpm moving motor.
Ecorobot can be powered by an optional lithium ion battery, which has low-voltage protection and provides a mowing time of 30-40 minutes per charge. This is the world's first product of its kind that can be switched into manual model with a handle, giving users better control of the mower so that they can completely remove weeds from the garden.
Chen emphasizes that his company is devoted to the development of cordless electric garden equipment, including mowers, trimmers, and pruners, and that it has been well recognized by American and Japanese customers as a reliable supplier. He is confident that Ecorobot's quality and innovative functions will satisfy DIY and professional gardeners worldwide, especially at a time when automation is a growing concern.
Multi Tool by Team Machinery
Time is generally a concern for gardeners, and one way to address this concern is to provide them with efficient, multifunctional tools that can save time and effort. The Multi Tool by the Team Machinery Corp., a Taiwanese supplier of outdoor power equipment for gardening and landscaping, can come to the aid of users with limited time.
Developed with the concept of easy tool interchangeability and with great performance achieved by top-end parts and components, the Multi Tool consists of an ECB 240-MT long shaft having a motor and lithium ion battery at its end, as well as a variety of tools, including a pole saw with a 10-inch Oregon bar and chain, hedge trimmer with double blades, tiller with a SK-made blade, and grass trimmer with a nylon head and 3T blade.
The Multi Tool is notable for a Tool-Free Joint design that allows easy tool replacement.
The Tool-Free Joint design at the head of the shaft provides for easy replacement of the tools mentioned above, and an adjustable D-Loop handle has a bar with anti-vibration function. The 36V and 4.1Ah battery can be fully charged within 70-90 minutes. Depending on the type of tool used, the Multi Tool can operate for 30-50 minutes per charge.
The Multi Tool comes with a motor by Honda, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, or Subaru. Made of recyclable, eco-friendly material, the device has met CE safety standards and is an ideal product for gardeners everywhere.
Team Machinery's product line also includes brush cutters, earth augers, power pole saws, pole hedge trimmers, multi tillers, and knapsack power sprayers, as well as related spare parts, marketed under its "Mori" brand and mostly available on an OEM (original equipment manufacturing) and ODM (original design manufacturing) basis.
G-hose by Cheng Yeau
Gardeners often face the dilemma of whether to buy hoses that are long enough to provide watering coverage over spacious gardens, since long hoses get tangled easily and users frequently have difficulty storing them efficiently without reels or other complementary devices; in addition, the poor quality of ordinary PVC hoses can result in bursting and leaks when they are overloaded. The G-hose from Cheng Yeau Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese developer of garden watering equipment, is designed to resolve these problems.
Unveiled early this year, the G-hose is a highly elastic, expandable hose with a wrinkle-free outer braid coating over an inner hose made of a special TPE formula. The greatly enhanced elasticity of this product enables the inner hose to withstand a water pressure of up to 10 kilograms more than competing models.
The G-hose is one of only a few highly elastic hoses that can greatly expand in length and diameter to facilitate watering and storage without the use of complementary devices.
Available in lengths of 3.8, 7.5 and 10 meters and three different colors, the hose, when used with a water pressure of less than 3 kilograms, can naturally be stretched to double its length. Its outer diameter can also expand from 3/8” to up to 3/4”, depending on water pressure. The enhanced elasticity can help extend the distance which water can be sprayed from an ordinary sprinkler nozzle without using pumps, and a smooth water flow is ensured even if the hose is twisted or flattened.
Notably, the G-hose is world's first hose that can shed inside water residue naturally with reduced tension on the inner hose when the tap is turned off. To avoid water leaks, a structurally improved connector that has been patented in Taiwan and the U.S. comes with the G-hose package.
H.F. Huang and C.T. Lai, designers of the G-hose, proudly emphasize that the product features not just light weight, an attractive exterior, easy storage, and enhanced functionality, but also cost-effectiveness. While costing as much as a 3/8” hose, it can function as well as a hose with a much bigger outer diameter, making it ideal for watering and cleaning gardens as well as for washing cars.
Solar Postcap Light by Great Shoreline
Garden lighting is part of garden decoration, and how to get lamps whose exterior design and coloring harmonize with the garden while making sure they are so energy-stingy that they cut down on electricity bills increasingly matters. This is an issue that is resolved by the Solar Postcap Light by Great Shoreline Ltd., a Taiwanese supplier of garden lighting.
This Solar Postcap light is made with long-lasting, energy-efficient white LEDs and has a nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride photovoltaically rechargeable, easy-to-install battery that makes it independent of cords connecting to power sources. Housed in a durable plastic waterproof frame, the lamp fits a 4x4” post and turns on automatically when darkness falls.
A unique exterior in classical style makes this light perfect for fences, decks, and mailbox posts, and provides a sense of elegance, countryside leisure, and native charm in the garden during the day, and emits a heartwarming, welcoming glow at night. With a value-added exterior and function, this product is less a light than it is a masterpiece of art that adds attractive design elements to the garden.
The Solar Postcap Light addresses concerns about eco-friendliness and environmentally harmonized garden decoration.
Great Shoreline also offers an Acrylic Solar Stick Light which is available in butterfly, hummingbird, sunflower, lily, and owl shapes and is easy to install in any sunlit area. Using solar thermal collectors to charge its battery during the day, this figurine lamp requires no electricity or wiring and can provide light for eight hours on a fully-charged battery.
Electric Brush Cutter by Jiin Haur
Battery-powered electric garden cutting tools still need time to be accepted by gardeners, mostly because of their high prices and limited battery service time, but they are relatively effortless to use and are eco-friendly, and are expected to take the market lead before long--especially since populations in developed countries are continuously aging and more and more women engage in backyard gardening
The JH-29 electric brush cutter by Jiin Haur Industrial Co., Ltd., one of Taiwan's best-known suppliers of garden cutting tools, is one product of the trends mentioned above. The cutter is powered by a battery motor with a maximum rotation speed of 15,000rpm, obviating the need for a cord or gas-consuming engine. It has a compact body made of aluminum along with a handle of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), making it eco-friendly, quiet, and lightweight. Even with the battery installed, the tool weighs only around 1 kilogram.
The JH-29 electric brush cutter is lightweight and ergonomically designed for effortless use for long periods.
For enhanced safety and utility, the grass cutter has not only a safety lock on the handle but also a "weed stuck plate" and protection plate near the blades that are easily replaceable and available in two materials, SK5 steel and strengthened nylon. The "weed stuck plate" has a sun-like shape to hold long weeds for easier cutting, while the protection plate is a fan-shaped cover that keeps users from danger caused by rotating blades and crushed stones. The motor is housed in heat-resistant plastic and has a ventilation outlet, and the tube is subjected to special anodizing treatment to enhance electrical safety.
Notably, the 950mm shaft is connected to the handle at a slant to meet ergonomic concerns, boosting user comfort. This electric brush cutter, with its enhanced mobility, safety, utility, and eco-protection, has proven a hot-seller in Japan. For the Western market with its generally taller people, the company is developing a version of the cutter with a longer shaft.
Shears by Wise Center
Trimming a hedge and pruning trees in the garden can be a physically demanding job, especially with an inefficient, poorly designed manual tool. Now Wise Center Appliance Precision Co., Ltd., a top-notch supplier of garden tools from Taiwan, has developed a brand-new shears series that can help make the work more effortless and even enjoyable.
Compared to conventional shears with handles having an oval- or round-shaped structure, Wise Center's new series have handles with irregular shapes that have proven effective in exerting a stronger cutting force with less applied force, thanks mainly to the interaction between their geometric and mechanical properties.
In addition, handles with irregular shapes generally have stronger resistance to torsion and better ductility and malleability while featuring higher structural strength and lighter weight than those with structure in other shapes. The company has applied for design patents in Taiwan and the U.S.
Wise Center’s brand-new shears series features handles with irregularly-shaped structures that provide improved cutting efficiency.
The handles of the shears also have other features, including an automatic spring-open function for each cutting repetition, a safety hook for easier storage and safety, and an easy joint design at the upper end that allows the handle to be easily connected to an extension to increase its total length.
An improved pivot mechanism enables the blades to cut twigs up to 60mm in diameter with 30% less effort, and allows multi-step cutting so that the shears can replace ordinary saws. Thomas Lin, Wise Center's president, says that the shears will be put into mass production in October, and insists that they will help users find the enjoyment of gardening.
Hose Reel Cart by Rong Lih
After watering, keeping your lawn tidy and neat with sprinkler nozzles and hoses stored away so that they are ready to use and become an integral part of the setting is made easy with the hose reel carts developed by Rong Lih Enterprise Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese supplier of watering devices and accessories for gardens and lawns.
The hose reel cart, coded RL-540, has an impact-proof, green-black case of PP that accommodates 1/2-inch hoses up to 30 meters in length as well as 5/8”x75' hoses. The case has a powder-coated steel frame for added visual appeal. The streamlined, contemporary-style exterior, along with the high storage capacity, makes this product ideal for use in gardens and backyards.
In addition to its value-added exterior, the cart has other innovative features that enhance the convenience and pleasure of watering a lawn: an easy rewind action with a layer knob on one side of the cart and a viewing window cover that allow the user to rewind the hose easily by turning the knob manually, for instance, and a molded hook for easy hand sprayer storage without causing damage to either the hose or sprayer when the cart is towed. A foot step under the knob helps maintain stability while the hose is being rewound.
For better mobility and stability, the cart has a pair of wide, durable wheels and a retractable towing handle with a plastic grip on the back side, and two spikes on the bottom that can be extended to help support the cart on the earth.
The RL-540 hose reel cart is an ultimate ready-to-use solution for convenient, enjoyable watering around the garden.
Besides its innovative cart, Rong Lih has a product line that includes other high-quality, useful gardening products such as hose reels, hose hangers and guides, sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers, spray guns, tool holders, hose connectors, and plastic service carts that help gardeners deal with watering, weeds, and other gardening chores in the most efficient and convenient way.