2019 participation in consumer "Lawn and Garden" activities slightly falls; decline driven by young people.
The percentage of U.S. households who report participating in at least one lawn and garden activity in 2019 has fallen compared to the past five years. More than three million fewer households participated in at least one lawn and garden activity, and participation in each activity in 2019 has either fallen or remained unchanged compared to 2018. This drop in participation is driven largely by a decline among younger respondents; respondents aged 45 and older report participating at the same rate as in 2018, but respondents between the ages of 25-45, and in particular those under the age of 25 report lower participation.
Wealthy Dominate Spending, Everyone Else Participates
As noted by Charlie Nardozzi, gardening author, speaker, consultant and contributor to the National Gardening Survey, "As the 2020 NGS reports, the wealthiest households share of the garden marketplace spending went from 8% in 2015 to 20% in 2019. I expect this to increase even more in 2020 as the effects of the expected economic downturn effect more middle and lower income households in particular. While participation may increase among all income brackets, the bulk of the spending, especially on big ticket items and services, will stay firmly in the wealthy bracket."
COVID-19 Presents an Uncertain Future
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus has severely disrupted normal life and the international economy. The calamitous economic effects of COVID-19 may lead to individuals decreasing their overall spending and forgoing or postponing major lawn and garden projects and services, particularly among those with decreased disposable income. However, it may also eventually lead to an increase in food gardening, "DIY" projects, bargain hunting, social gardening, and in particular, purchasing of items online. If the crisis does result in new participants or increased demand for products from existing gardeners, the gardening industry will need to adapt to the possibly changed needs of their existing customers and the different desires of their new ones.
COVID-19 causing Feast and Famine for Gardening Industry
Jim Feinson, CEO of Gardener's Supply Company, notes in his National Gardening Survey commentary, "COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the Gardening industry, like most others. In Gardening the effects are particularly perverse. Gardening is enjoying strong interest and growth in this age of coronavirus, benefiting in particular online sales. At the same time, many growers and retail outlets face state-constrained sales in 2020, loss of revenue in our prime season, and existential threats. A look at history, societal and industry trends, and the National Gardening Survey reveals that this gardening 'boom' will be ephemeral, unless the industry takes this opportunity to understand the changes in the marketplace and consumer base."
Nearly half of spending done through home centers; online retailers hold small share.
Nearly two-thirds of "gardening" households purchased at least one item at a home center such as Home Depot or Lowe's in 2019 and nearly half of overall spending occurred at these places. General online retailers such as Amazon are nascent players, but at the moment remain a minor one; only one in seven participating households purchased lawn and garden items through online retailers in 2019, but we anticipate that to increase significantly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interest in cannabis cultivation remains significant, particularly among young people
As state laws governing cannabis continue to become more permissive, about one-third of respondents say they would be definitely or probably cultivate cannabis if it were legal to do so. Among those who are interested, twenty-three million individuals do not currently participate in any lawn and garden activities. Older respondents are largely uninterested in cultivating legal cannabis, particularly marijuana, though a small number are interested in hemp/CBD.
The 2020 National Gardening Survey is now available for purchase through https://garden.org/store/view/...
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