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Apr 26, 2021 | Main Theme Story

The Great Reset: Garden Trends Report

Main Theme Story

Celebrating 20 years of spotting trends in the green industries, Garden Media Group (GMG), a boutique marketing and public relations firm based in Kennett Square, Pa., has unveiled its “2021 Garden Trends Report, ‘The Great Reset.’” The report offers a peek into what will be trending in horticulture this year and beyond.

How the world will change post-COVID-19 remains to be seen, but Katie Dubow, president of GMG, says one thing is for sure: We are in the middle of “a great reset.” “This is the biggest opportunity our industry has been given to reboot, recharge and rebuild,” she proclaims. “What are you, as retailers in the green industry, going to do with it?”

According to GMG’s 2021 report, there will be many changes in the floral industry and other segments of the green industry, but one overarching shift will shape many of them: Collective Action. It’s not just the global community connecting; the magnifying glass is on communities that are banding together more than ever.

“You may have seen this in your community, online or in real life,” Dubow says. “But the shift in community

collective is fundamental and powerful. And flowers and plants are tools for building more resilient and connected communities and neighborhoods. We’re seeing neighbors getting to know each other, helping each other and being available to each other.”

Here are four trends that GMG says will shape the future of the flower, plant and other green industries this year and beyond.

This is the biggest opportunity our industry has been given to reboot, recharge and rebuild.”         
— Katie Dubow

trend 1:

Improv Era

The world watched as stores shifted their supply chains from in-store to delivery and curbside pickup. These pivots need to happen more frequently and efficiently for continued success. People are still shopping, just differently. In fact, one- quarter of Americans spent more money while social distancing.

So just how do you succeed in the “Improv Era”? “Don’t keep to the status quo by repeating what you’ve been doing,” Dubow advises. Consumers also want to have confidence in a product before they buy, and they want to buy from people they trust. In addition, a recent study by De Beers Group, the world’s leading diamond company, says that shoppers are looking for gifts that have more “meaning” and that communicate how important and valued the recipient is to the giver. Flowers and plants are personal gifts, and they are perfect fits for this trend.

Shoppers are also getting accustomed to new technologies such as electronic payments and touchless transactions. They want convenience and speed; their goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible, so investing in all the latest technologies you can afford is crucial (or you might just get left behind!).

The world watched as stores shifted their supply chains from in-store to delivery and curbside pickup. These pivots need to happen more frequently and efficiently for continued success. People are still shopping, just differently. In fact, one- quarter of Americans spent more money while social distancing.

So just how do you succeed in the “Improv Era”? “Don’t keep to the status quo by repeating what you’ve been doing,” Dubow advises. Consumers also want to have confidence in a product before they buy, and they want to buy from people they trust. In addition, a recent study by De Beers Group, the world’s leading diamond company, says that shoppers are looking for gifts that have more “meaning” and that communicate how important and valued the recipient is to the giver. Flowers and plants are personal gifts, and they are perfect fits for this trend.

Shoppers are also getting accustomed to new technologies such as electronic payments and touchless transactions. They want convenience and speed; their goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible, so investing in all the latest technologies you can afford is crucial (or you might just get left behind!).

flower car

trend 2:

Broadacre Cities

Nearly 100 years ago, during the height of the Great Depression, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a concept called “Broadacre City.” His concept comprised grids of one-acre (or larger) family plots, and Wright’s idea was that much of the urban population would resettle onto these small “homesteads,” decentralizing the urban areas and creating communities based on small- scale farming and manufacturing, local government and property ownership, in which individuals would flourish.

Although Wright’s concept never really took off and urban areas grew and grew, today, the coronavirus is challenging the assumption that Americans must stay physically tethered to high-cost, small-space cities to access the best work opportunities. Many newly remote workers prefer somewhere closer to family or fresh air. There was already an exodus from high-priced big cities to more affordable midsize ones, but COVID-19 sped it up.

Cases in point: New York City’s three largest commercial tenants—JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Morgan Stanley—say it’s unlikely that all their employees will return to offices; Facebook and Twitter are telling employees they can work remotely forever; and Google axed deals for 2 million square feet of urban office space.

If this trend continues, and it seems likely that it will, “Broadacre”-type communities that have an emphasis on “community”—such as Usonia, a planned community that is now a national historic district in Mount Pleasant, N.Y., and Civano, a neighborhood in Tucson, Ariz.,— will forever change our cities—and our industry. And that change will positively impact the value that florists and garden centers have in those communities. 

With more people staying home, there will be an even greater appreciation for cut flowers and indoor plants. “Position your products as those that make people happy and improve their health,” Dubow advises. “Whether as a gift for oneself or someone else, focus on the emotional and health impacts of giving flowers and plants.” In offices, too, there will be a greater demand for plants, too, as employers seek to improve their work environments for greater productivity, concentration and wellness of their workers.

Real photo of a workplace interior with a computer on a desk next to a chair and a shelf with ornaments, posters on a wall and a window with blinds

trend 3:

Backyard Aficionado

According to a new survey, the green industry picked up 16 million new gardeners during the spring and summer of 2020, many of who are younger than 35. The survey also states that the 35-to-44-year age bracket had the highest mean spending, $608, of all the age groups in 2019. Many in this group are raising families, own homes and have established careers. However, Dubow says, these new customers will not stay unless the industry can find a way to entice them.

So, what do these new gardeners care about, and how can you appeal to them? The “Backyard Aficionados” are, more than anything else, interested in reducing stress and increasing their health and wellness. Therefore, offer content about the health benefits of flowers, plants and gardening on your website, newsletter and blog.

In addition, today’s gardeners are interested in growing food—edible plants, including vegetables, herbs and fruits. With the surge in home cooking and the fear of food scarcity, many Americans are discovering the joy of growing their own food. Fast-growing plants, as well as miniature and dwarf plants—such as ‘Micro Tom’ tomatoes; miniature bell peppers, watermelons and cucumbers; window-box mini basil; and sprouts and microgreens—are especially popular in edible gardening.

Cutting gardens also are becoming more popular for modern gardeners, with the purpose of cutting and bringing colorful flowers indoors for beautiful flower arrangements. To make that attainable, simple single-variety gardens work well for beginners. Once experience is gained, variety can be added by mixing and matching colors, textures and heights for the next-level “Backyard Aficionado.”

Finally, today’s gardening consumers are also interested in reducing the sizes of their lawns. In a recent survey conducted by the National Garden Bureau (NGB), 67 percent of respondents 35 and younger shared that while they want some green lawn, they also desire their yards planted with a wide variety of other plants.

flower car

trend 4:

Tiny Gratification

The fourth trend, “Tiny Gratification,” explores how the “Backyard Aficionado” is also getting into miniature houseplants and cut-flower arrangements for their interior environments. Houseplants such as baby’s tears (Soleirolia),   string-of-pearls/string-of-beads   (Senecio), air plants (Tillandsia) and African violets (Saintpaulia) are ideal for workers’ cubicles and desks and small apartments. Miniature bouquets also are space- and budget-efficient.

“Cuteness aside, tiny plants and bouquets are the perfect choices for people with limited space and time,” says Leslie Halleck, a professional horticulturist, a business/marketing consultant for the green industry and owner of Halleck Horticultural in Dallas, Texas. “On windowsills, under glass or under grow lights, consumers’ plant addictions will be fed without cramping their style or budgets.”

female florist puts fresh succulent and rose flowers in glass florarium. Event fresh flowers decoration. Florist workflow. Wedding banquet design

GARDEN MEDIA GROUP has published its “Garden Trends Report” annually since 2001. The firm offers information about the trends in various formats, including a free annual report—available for download at GardenMediaGroup.com/Trends— and a YouTube series.

Also, read Garden Media’s “GROW!” blog, at Grow.GardenMediaGroup.com, for trend updates and industry news.

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