During 2018, Easigrass South Africa sold the equivalent of about 200 rugby fields of artificial grass, making massive inroads into a region where the impact of climate change is becoming more and more evident and water is often in short supply.
“The Easigrass partner and retailer network across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe once again produced stellar results in 2018, following two years of phenomenal growth. 2017 was already a big year and we saw sales continue grow!” said Trigger Truniger, national accounts manager for Easigrass South Africa.
As a leading global brand, Easigrass, supplies and installs a wide range of multi award-winning natural-look premier grass products across every continent. The brand launched into the almost non-existent local artificial grass market in 2012 when Van Dyck Floors began optimizing its product range and supply chain.
Easigrass was founded in the UK by Jonathan Gallagher in 1989. Initially, it focused on growing demand within the sports industry. However, following the joining of his elder brother Anthony Gallagher 13 years ago who brought extensive research and development on innovative ways to create value for residential and commercial applications, new products that closely resembled natural grasses were launched and its presence in the evolving leisure/landscaping market increased dramatically.
Easigrass not only began to grow internationally but also became the first artificial grass brand to be included in an exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2010. To date, it is the only artificial grass company to be awarded a gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Managing director of Van Dyck Floors, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, said that growth during 2017 and 2018 had averaged 18,9 percent, a significant achievement during difficult years for South Africa’s economy.
This culminated in Easigrass’s Cape Town operation collecting the award for the Best International Sales at the annual International Easigrass conference held in London in January this year – again for the third year in a row. (This measures actual sales and is adjudicated according to the amount of artificial grass sold rather than annual percentage growth measured against the previous year).
Dr Zarrebini, attributed this national growth and the specific strong performance of the Western Cape (which includes the award winning branch in Cape Town as well as a highly successful one in Somerset West) to continuous product innovation, access to the latest global Easigrass manufacturing technology and very strong support from Van Dyck Floors within Southern Africa.
Although the devastating drought in the Western Cape during 2017 had played a role, it was not the sole contributor to strong performance which had been reflected across the region.
Instead, he noted, the quality of the product and the standard of installation had carved a space in a now highly competitive market. The launch of two new products – Easi-Windsor and Easi-Play Elite– which closely resemble local natural grasses and are a value offering that meets the specific needs of South African clients – had also had a significant effect.
Dr Zarrebini thanked the 12 partners across Southern Africa for this strong performance.
Turning to the Western Cape, in particular, he noted: “From a strategic perspective, Cape Town has recognised that there are plenty of opportunities and they have focused not on competing with others, but rather on working together to create a larger economic pie. Instead of it being a zero sum game, they have taken a positive sum approach to growing the artificial grass market in the Western Cape. I also believe that the team is extremely creative and has built up strong relationships with clients. Confidence and trust attract people and enable this team to drive growth both internally and externally.”
Jonathan and Anthony Gallagher, owners of UK-based Easigrass, congratulated the Cape Town operation on its win. “This confirms that Easigrass customers worldwide can expect and receive the same level of experience, knowledge, skill and professionalism as they get from our headquarters in London. We train all of our partners in the latest techniques of quality synthetic grass installation where products are designed to last, making Easigrass one of the world’s leading and most trusted artificial landscape providers,” they said.
Truniger is confident that Easigrass South Africa will continue its strong performance during 2019, adding that the company is looking to grow its partner network across the country and especially in outlying regions which are currently serviced from major centres.
Dr Zarrebini agrees. “I certainly expect Easigrass South Africa to continue growing at a similar rate. There are a number of South African cities where we are yet to establish a presence and so it is important that we continue to expand our national footprint. A key focus of ours is technology and we continue to develop our digital marketing strategy to include emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and conversational systems. This allows us to create superior customer service and essentially provide the information that clients require in minimal amount of time.”
He pointed out that artificial grass was becoming a preferred option with landscapers and designers and especially those with sustainability in mind. “The environmental benefits of utilising artificial grass in place of real grass in areas which are not appealing for natural grass growth has helped develop the market for artificial grass. It is also aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance for both residential and commercial applications as more commercial developers begin to focus on employee well-being.”