The August issue of Garden Center magazine includes a fascinating analysis by Ian Baldwin of the recent National Gardening Survey published by the National Gardening Association, highlighting a variety of industry trends and opportunities. One observation I found especially interesting involved where people buy their gardening products.
From 2005 to 2010, an average of 4.2% fewer households per year bought gardening products from mass merchants, 3.9% fewer per year from home centers, and 3.0% fewer per year from garden centers, while hardware stores stayed steady.
Garden centers have complained for years about the big box stores taking business away from them. Yet judging by these numbers, garden centers are losing fewer gardening customers than the big box stores … but they’re both still losing.
Also notable is the fact that garden product purchases from hardware stores have stayed steady. Baldwin theorizes that hardware stores have earned a reputation for helping their customers achieve success with their projects, in a way that garden centers have not. He makes a valid point, and one that can extend to catalogers and online merchants as well. The more you can do to help your customers become successful gardeners, the more they’ll buy from you.