Unlocking the new consumer
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Unlocking the new consumer

Features - Consumer Trends

How will you approach plant sales and marketing in 2022? Garden Media Group’s Garden Trends Report helps sort out what’s likely to influence consumers' purchases.

November 3, 2021

All photos courtesy of Adobe Stock

Each year, the clever squad at Garden Media Group compile the Garden Trends Report, and this year’s account reveals how customers define horticulture in 2022 and beyond.

“Trends help you select plants, products, or services consumers want,” explains Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group. “Trends ignite a new business, product, service or customer experience. And trends can breathe new life into your current business.”

Here are a few of the trends that Dubow and her team discovered. Get access to the entire report at www.gardenmediagroup.com.


Shopping local matters to the modern consumer, as well as patronizing “microbusiness,” companies with only a handful of employees (sometimes only one) that do business on a small scale in a small space.

“Microbusinesses allow us to shop our values as we see an increase in ethics-driven spending. Half of Gen Z (53%) and Millennial (49%) shoppers want to cut back on their Amazon shopping and all generations feel guilty about shopping there,” according to the report.

GMG suggests partnering with microbusinesses in your community either in person or online.

“Keep promoting the shop small, shop local message. We know 50% to 60% of each dollar spent locally stays local via taxes, salaries, supplies, etc.”

Hang on to those new gardeners

Pundits predict a large majority of those new gardeners we inherited during the pandemic will stick with their new hobby. “According to McKinsey’s ‘stickiness test’ [the McKinsey Global Institute], 75% of the new gardeners will keep growing post-pandemic,” the report reads.

The best way to build “a bridge to make these instant gratification gardeners lifetime gardeners” is to “start by building a solid foundation made up of both tools and information.”

The current plant shopper, GMG calls them “backyard aficionados,” are into edibles, gardening for wildlife, and stress relief. The report also reveals plant shoppers are “equally men and women, but men under 35 shows the most significant increase in participation.”

To help bridge that gap, Dubow et al. suggests curating 15- to 60-second “educational and funny videos” to connect with new gardeners. “Provide basic, accessible content on Facebook and Instagram, and experiment with TikTok and Reddit.”

Beyond e-commerce

Consumers are melding e-commerce and entertainment, a trend known as shoppertainment (think a shoppable video).

“Using social and shopping integrations such as Shopify or Shoppertainment, the ability to purchase while watching online videos was born.”

Big brands such as Nordstrom and Walmart are embracing the shoppertainment concept.

According to the report, in the U.S., social commerce may reach 4.3% of retail e-commerce sales in 2022, or $36.09 billion.

And because the future will be a “hybrid of virtual and in-person,” the green industry “has the opportunity to interact online with seminars, classes, and info while driving sales. … Whether in a waiting room or the garden, people will embrace convenience and personalization.”

Gardening for wildlife

According to GMG, 67.2 million households purchased at least one plant because it benefited pollinators or birds in 2020.

The National Wildlife Federation launched a Garden for Wildlife Collection featuring native plants. These varieties “attract insects that feed 96% of backyard bird species.”

Fresh choices

Have you considered growing cut flowers? During 2020, sales of cut flowers in the U.S. reached $6.5 billion, and in 2021 sales are already up 9.8% over 2020, according to the Produce Marketing Association and cited in the report.

“Growth is due in part to TikTok design classes, the Big Flower Fight on Netflix, and Full Bloom on HBO Max.”

If you need more persuasion, the National Gardening Association’s “reluctant gardeners,” those who don’t think of themselves as gardeners, had the second highest spend on cut flowers at $71.51.