GWA predicts garden spending will drop

May 27, 2011
Written by Garden Writers Association
May 27, 2011 - As a sign of the economic times, planned consumer garden spending is expected to drop from an average $615/household in 2009 to a projected $469 for 2011. At the same time, competition between independent garden centers and mass merchants is expected to remain evenly split for early spring plant purchases. When the Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) started tracking the early spring gardening preferences of consumers in 2005, only 40% of the respondents planned to buy most of their spring plants at garden centers compared to 51% who favored mass merchants.

The GWAF’s 2011 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report conducted in April found that garden centers maintain a slight edge over mass merchants (46% to 44%) for consumer preference in purchasing most of their spring plants in spite of a more than 23% decline in planned garden spending overall.

“Best Quality” remains the primary criteria for many households (51%) choosing where they will shop for plants. “Best Price” was reported by only 27% of consumers as the most important criteria for where they will purchase their spring plants.

The 2011 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report is the first of four national consumer attitude surveys on gardening to be conducted this year by the GWAF. The data was collected between April 3-6 by Technometrica Market Intelligence, the leading polling organization rated most accurate in the past two U.S. national elections. Other information from the survey includes:

  • Nearly one-half (47%) of all respondents plan to garden in their backyard, while more than one-quarter (29%) plan to garden in their front yard.
  • One-half (50%) of respondents who have a garden expect to use garden centers, nurseries, or classes for their spring garden planning, while 52% plan to gain knowledge from their neighbors.
  • More than one-third plan to use books and magazines (34%) for their spring garden planning.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents who have a garden plan to grow their own vegetables this year.
  • More than four-fifths (82%) are motivated to grow their own vegetables because it will yield vegetables with better quality, taste, and nutrition.
  • More than two-fifths (46%) say that growing their own vegetables will be cheaper than buying from a store.
  • The majority of respondents (46%) who are planning to grow vegetables say that their vegetable garden is a small plot (10 feet by 10 feet or less).

The 2011 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report covers consumer expectations and attitudes for activities and purchases planned for March through May. The survey statistically represents the attitudes of over 100 million households with an accuracy of 95% (+/- 4.2% percentage points).

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