Garden industry consultant Ian Baldwin always has intriguing analyses, and his article in the October 2010 issue of Garden Center Magazine, Wishing For a Redo, is no exception. In it, he mused on the roller coaster sales many garden industry retailers experienced in 2010, and the lessons we can take from this erratic year.
Most garden centers, Baldwin reports, are finishing 2010 with a drop in both the average sale per customer and the total number of customers. Despite the gradually improving economy and a gangbuster start to the year, many companies’ sales pretty well tanked in May. Why?
Cold wet weather nationwide took its toll, but Baldwin believes that’s only part of the story. His article points to three other factors:
1. Aggressive discounts by big box stores have reset consumers price expectations to a much lower level.
2. The vegetable gardening surge we saw in 2009 was “old news” and didn’t get the same media play.
3. A segment of the market has shifted to new, less dedicated gardeners. To quote one of Baldwin’s clients, “When the weather got hot, the younger customers decided that gardening wasn’t cool anymore.”
Unlike the weather, which may be better next year, these three factors are here to stay. Baldwin offers some advice on adapting marketing tactics accordingly. For his suggestions, check out the complete article here.