2012 National Gardening Survey

By Bruce Butterfield

The 2012 National Gardening Survey shows light at the end of the tunnel in terms of increased lawn and garden participation and sales, but national chains now dominate market share.

There is good news for the Lawn and Garden business in results of the just-released 2012 National Gardening Survey report from the National Gardening Association. Nationwide, household participation in do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities showed a welcome increase of 3 million more households (3%) in 2011 compared with the year before, translating into an extra $688 million (2%) in retail sales of Lawn and Garden across the nation. In total U.S. households spent $29.1 billion on their lawns and gardens last year. Average annual spending on lawn and garden activities per household was flat at around $351 per year.

But a new survey question asking householders how much they spent at each type of retailer that sells lawn and garden products provided a revelation for retail operators and suppliers alike. The 2012 National Gardening Survey confirms that US households now spend more at Home Improvement Centers (30% of the total gardening retail market) and at Mass Merchants (21%) than they do at local Garden Centers and Nurseries (17%) or local Hardware Stores (14%). Many industry insiders have speculated about this shift in market ″Channel″ share for years and the 2012 National Gardening Survey has confirmed their suspicions. With a collective 51% share, large national chains now drive the L&G market. This market share data has not been collected before in this or any similar survey and will give industry insiders something to think about.

However, the national chains have their own challenge. The 18-34 year old group of householders cite their local Hardware Store as their preferred lawn and garden supplier ( 23% of sales) ahead of Home Centers (17% of sales) and Mass Merchants (19% of sales). ″At National Gardening Association, we're delighted to see more people doing lawn and garden activities for themselves and especially pleased to see an increase in lawn and garden sales last year after being down the previous two years″ said Mike Metallo, NGA President.

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