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Garden Trends 2007 Spring Research Report

Garden Centers Projected to Take Market Lead

A shift in consumer attitude may signal a market gain for Garden centers and local retailers in 2007. As reported in the Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report just released by the Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF), more consumers plan to purchase most of their spring garden plants at a garden center or local retailer (47%) com-pared to mass merchants (44%). In prior years, consumers said they favored mass merchants over garden centers by a margin of 52% to 39% in 2006 and 51% to 40% in 2005.

An analysis of consumer preferences indicated that quality-driven consumers favor garden center shopping and price-driven buyers favor mass merchants. For the past three years, a consistent “Quality over Price” attitude is evident among households. Half of consumers value Best Quality as an important attribute in plant selection, while only about a quarter value Best Price with the same intensity they have for Quality (Quality: 50% in 2007 and 2006 and 51% in 2005 vs. Price: 28% in 2007, 30% in 2006 and 25% in 2005).

Other findings from this newly re-leased national consumer survey include:

When compared to other types of garden-related spending that will occur this spring, consumers expect that Lawn & Grass expenditures will take the lead (42%), followed by Perennial Flowers (36%), Annual Flowers (34%), Vegetable & Fruit Plants (32%), and Trees & Shrubs (27%).
Ease of Care and Color continue to dominate consumer criteria for spring plant selection (Ease of care = 46% in both 2007 and 2006; Color = 46% in 2007 and 44% in 2006). One out of five consumers (23% in 2007 and 22% in 2006) say that plant size does, indeed, matter. In 2007, almost a third of consumers said Price is the determinant factor (31%).

When it comes to garden-related products labeled organic or natural, consumers say they are more inclined to buy organic or natural, Plant Food (28%), Garden Fruits & Vegetables (29%), and Potting Soil (25%). Almost a quarter say they would buy organic or natural labeled Pest Control Products (23%), while one in five prefer to buy organic or natural labeled Vegetable Seeds (19%), Garden Mulch (19%), and Flowering Plants, Trees & Shrubs (19%).

This spring, a third of consumers plan to use the Internet to research plant or product information (34%). Only one in ten consumers expect to use the Internet to purchase plant materials or seeds (10%), purchase gardening supplies (10%), or for garden design inspiration (10%).

The 2007 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report was conducted February 15-21 and covers consumer expectations and attitudes for activities and pur-chases planned for March through May. The survey was conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, a national consumer polling organization, and statistically represents the attitudes of over 100 million households with an accuracy of 95% (+/- 3.1 percentage points).

The 2007 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report is the first of four national consumer surveys planned by the GWA Foundation for 2007.

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