The recent pandemic forced many homeowners to do something they were very unfamiliar with – physically staying at home for long periods. With work, leisure, and extracurricular activities no longer in-person during the height of the pandemic, homeowners needed to find something to fill their time with besides hunkering down indoors. Thus, the popularity of gardening became a reality.
Once considered a past time for those in retirement, the popularity of gardening exploded during the pandemic – fueled by stay-at-home mandates and a need to find peace and tranquility among all the chaos.
But a recent study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science (and conducted by the University of Georgia) now suggests that the popularity of gardening and gardening products once fueled by the pandemic might be normalizing to pre-pandemic levels.
The study revealed that 62% of respondents plan on returning to pre-pandemic purchasing levels, while 38% plan to maintain post-pandemic spending.
Benjamin Campbell, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said, “You had low-interest rates, so you had a lot of people refinancing, which gave them money to invest in their homes. You had people at home looking for something to do, whether by themselves or with their kids. That led to a huge demand for plants.”
The study also found that just under half of the respondents did not plan to continue gardening in the future and simply adopted the hobby to occupy their time during stay-at-home orders.
However, one in 10 respondents said they would continue gardening for enjoyment – including 11% of Gen Xers and 13% of millennials and younger. It’s worth noting that About 14% of respondents were actively gardening because of growing concerns over food shortages.
Campbell added, “We saw a lot of younger consumers come into the market because of the pandemic and because they were having to stay home. Plants have been shown to help with a lot of different things related to people’s psyche. Gardening not only gave people something to do, but it also gave them a little bit more happiness.”
As people return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles and the popularity of gardening diminishes, growers, garden centers, and big-box stores will need to figure out who will remain and who will exit the market and how to adjust their inventories accordingly.