We spoke to garden businesses on the front lines – from garden centers to manufacturing – to gain insight into “the new garden consumer” and how they’re shopping this holiday season.
Read on for the four surprising finds of the 2020 holiday season.
Holiday shoppers are half-way done their shopping (and it’s not even Thanksgiving).
Before the Halloween pumpkins were carved, holiday shopping dollars were already trickling early in thanks to an early Prime Day, numerous sales, and well… boredom.
But has the “official” rush of holiday shopping set in?
“It’s here!” declares Clint Albin, Marketing Consultant for Homestead Gardens, the largest enclosed garden center in the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas. “It’s amazing to see people shopping multiple seasons simultaneously. You see them walk out of the garden center with an azalea or hydrangea, a pumpkin, and a handful of Christmas ornaments.”
They’re not the “typical” garden shopper of the past.
An estimated 16 million Americans took up gardening in 2020. “For the past decade, the gardens industry has been grappling with how to connect with millennials.” Says Albin. “Now because of the pandemic, we have them… and our challenge becomes how to keep them.”
The old saying, “What’s old is new again,” holds true with these new garden shoppers. Albin points out that garden staples like terra cotta pots that fell out of favor in the past have come back around, both for their aesthetic and practicality.
“If you look at the houseplant trend,” Albin adds, “We’re now seeing individuals use houseplants with a different level of fascination. But the way they arrange these houseplants looks just like what they saw when visiting a favorite relative growing up.”
This holiday season, Homestead Gardens is offering cutting-edge cool houseplants both in stores and online, as well as a diverse selection of pottery.
The power of the recommendation has never been stronger.
With trust, familiarity, and comfort guiding purchases in 2020, shoppers are buying for others what they use for themselves. “We’re seeing orders come in with notes that say ‘Love your products, and I’m ordering more this time as family holiday gifts.’” Says Greg Niewold, owner of Power Planter. His company manufactures plant and earth augers for home gardening and professional landscaping. Niewold also notes a strong demand for “Made in the USA” products that continues to rise.
Power Planter has seen popularity among a wave of DIY enthusiasts, and is responding with project-ready packages like the Ultimate Gardener Starter Pack that contain all the equipment needed to get a project off the ground.
Shoppers want to feel the holiday spirit… but their needs have
With many people and places observing social distancing this winter, the in-person holiday shopping experience will look different this year.
“Garden centers and nurseries have the unique ability to provide a sense of wonderment through the beautiful plants that shine this time of year,” remarks Albin, from Christmas trees and poinsettias to azaleas and cyclamen. Since the pandemic, people have gravitated toward being in nature—an experience a garden center is well-positioned to provide. “And when you add in beautiful, stylized ornaments and ornament collections, it brings shoppers a sense of nostalgia during their visit.”
Niewold observed that his company is gearing up for a busy season, whether on-line or in-person. “We’re stocked and ready to ship to retailers and distributors, as well as direct to customers on the same day orders are received so they have everything in plenty of time for the holidays.” A nationwide uptick in shipping gifts this year could cause delays at the post office, so Niewold advises savvy shoppers to buy early this year.