How the plant world is changing and why you should care
By Bert Wahlen, Founder/CEO of SmartPlant and Green Chip
The plant industry in the U.S. is worth 40 billion dollars and includes breeders, growers, propagators, retailers, nurseries, and manufacturers.
That’s a lot of plants and plant-related products. Even so, consumers can generally only name a handful of plants and are at a loss about which products their plants need. Therefore, over the last few years, there’s been an increase in online searches to identify plants and to gather information on how to care for them.
Younger generations are showing an interest, like never before, in plants and eco-friendly products; however, the garden industry has yet to successfully adapt to meet the needs of this new generation of consumers.
Consumers nowadays are not interested in learning botany and they're accustomed to having information instantly at their fingertips. Unfortunately, the generation that ‘googles’ everything can’t always find proper care information for plants that easily. When they try, they quickly fall down the rabbit hole of scientific names, common names and botanic terms such as “mulch,” “slow-release,” and “dead-heading.” These kinds of results leave the consumer, with no previous knowledge about plants, completely adrift.
Until millennials feel confident that they can own plants and keep them alive, retailers’ sales will continue to struggle and new generations will be more and more discouraged.
A young consumer who kills their throws it away and moves on to the next project. The objective is to provide consumers with easily accessible tools to become successful, thus leading them back to the garden center for more plants and materials like pots, trellises, fertilizer, bug killer and macramé plant hangers.
Caring for plants requires some amount of effort, time, energy, and money, so it’s important to support customer success right from . If a customer can keep one plant alive, they’ll return to the stores for more, thus increasing sales for growers, breeders, retailers and everyone else in the plant industry.
Whether the industry thrives or dies will depend on how quickly they respond to this new consumer group flowing through our society. So the next question is, what’s required to meet this new consumer?