Garden centers and nurseries are a staple on the American retail landscape. Garden nurseries aren’t going anywhere soon, either, especially since surveys show that 83% of people in the United States think it’s important to have a yard. Among those who do have a yard, 90% believe that it’s important that their yard be maintained. A new survey done for the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 75% of people over the age of 18 believe that it’s important to spend time in their yards.
With this emphasis on landscaping and yardwork among the general population, garden centers are likely to be popular for some time to come. That doesn’t mean that things aren’t changing in the industry, though. Here are some of the things that the lawn and garden industry need to take into account moving forward.
Understanding The Different Types of Trends
There are certain trends that all nurseries and garden centers really need to be looking into as they make decisions for the future. Here are just a few of them:
- Trends in lifestyle and consumer habits For example, are a lot of older consumers who have been avid gardeners their whole lives now moving out of their larger homes and trading down? If so, is this a permanent trend or something temporary because of an economic situation? Are younger people taking an interest in gardening, and what type of landscaping and gardening do they tend to prefer?
- Changes in workplace trends What is the workforce looking like for garden centers in a particular area? Is it possible to find employees who have the right skills at salaries that the average nursery can afford to pay?
- Regulatory and legislative changes Are there any new laws being passed on any level that might affect the business of garden center, its customers, or its employees and suppliers?
- Marketing changes How is marketing trending? Is it possible to reach more people than are being reached now, and what message is it important to convey to these potential new consumers?
Analyzing Specific Trends
- Everyone is increasingly concerned about the environment. This means that consumers are looking for native plants and effective methods of organic gardening and are less interested in chemical solutions to their gardening issues. This also means an increased demand for recycling efforts and composting as well as water conservation. It means the possibility of increased interest in plants that help to scrub indoor air or provide other environmentally-friendly services. All of this could affect legislation down the line, which is something that garden centers need to keep an eye on.
- Communications technology is changing rapidly. The average consumer no longer has to come to the nursery center in order to find out what they need to know about their home garden issues. This means the average consumer is a more sophisticated customer in many ways, and a customer that demands instant communication. On the plus side, this also means that scanner data will allow garden centers to more effectively monitor buying habits as well as print plant labels that are easier and faster to navigate.
- Increasing regulation will likely have an impact on garden centers going forward. Local communities are taking more of an interest in the use of chemicals and pest control solutions. These kinds of regulatory changes can affect insurance rates as well as decrease international competitiveness. It may require more paperwork to get through the day, and employment law or regulations continue to grow and adapt year-by-year.
What can a garden center do with this type of information? As has been often said, “the best defense is a good offense.” Keeping an eye on these trends and getting out ahead of them as a way to stay competitive against market changes, regulatory requirements, and technological developments. The earlier you get ahead of these trends, the less drastic changes are necessary and the more time you have to adapt to them: and that’s good for everyone.