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Peter Wigren, CEO of Simple Spring, Inc.

US: “Gardening may have been pandemic-proof, but it’s not inflation-proof”

Dr. Charlie Hall says inflation is a near-certainty. But what will be the impact on customer spending at garden centers? A recently released report from Simple Spring reveals that customers are noticing price increases and that a significant percentage are planning to reduce their spending at garden centers during the holiday season. The report published is just a preview of what Simple Spring’s new data platform for the industry, which will be launched in Q1 2023, will look like. “The goal of this platform is to assist the industry with decision-making,” says Peter Wigren, Founder, and CEO of Simple Spring, Inc.

Simple Spring tapped their Great Grow Along community and at-large respondents for 1,012 responses. The survey was taken from August 1- September 15 and represented all US states. Click here for the complete report.

“We’re experiencing the most extreme inflation since the 1908’s,“ Wigren says. “Customers started to notice prices going up in June, July and, right away, green industry businesses, particularly garden centers, wondered how inflation would impact consumer spending. The ‘Inflationary Impact on Holiday Spending 2022 Report” is designed to assist small businesses with decision-making based on real-time consumer data from their most engaged customers.

One of the key findings of the report is that gardening is not inflation-proof. “Consumers noticed price increases in 2022, but this did not always lead to anticipation of a reduction in spending for these consumers. Still, nearly 40% are planning to spend less on garden items during the holiday season.” When looking at where consumers cut back pre-holiday, respondents claimed to have cut back the most in spending on hard goods and houseplants. “Plant parents might be foregoing new plants by growing from cuttings to save while still enjoying their habit.”

Overall spend on garden items in 2022.

The biggest decrease was noticed in the under 25 and 45 to 54 age groups. “Perhaps socially based events will re-engage these groups and get them in the door.” The good news is that the higher income consumers are spending more at a fairly consistent percentage across categories, but will this be enough to offset the “a lot less” and “to zero” buyers? It’s also interesting that 94% of participants said that they will be ‘somewhat’ or ‘actively’ looking for discounts in 2023.

Click here for the complete report and ways to strategically use the findings.

New data platform
The study is not only a mini report in itself. It is a preview of what Simple Spring’s upcoming platform will look like. “In the first quarter of 2023, SimpleSpring is launching a brand new data platform for the industry, with the goal of offering data-based insights to assist business owners and leaders with dynamic and timely decision-making. Simple Spring’s consumer surveys will be refreshed and published on a monthly basis, providing a year-round tool to inform smarter buying, marketing, and management for the green industry. Insights will include expert video commentary and interactive charts,” Wigren explains. The platform will focus on traditional gardening items – plants, tools, containers, etc. “We’ve  released this mini report focusing on holiday items to help garden centers capitalize on this important “second spring” season.”

Simple Spring surveys a mix of gardeners at-large and a highly engaged audience who participated in the popular Great Grow Along Virtual Garden Festival. “Gardeners in the latter group have an above-average gardening budget and more frequently choose to shop at independent garden centers over big-box retail stores.”

“Data must be actionable”
Wigren’s philosophy around data is that it must be actionable. “In itself, data is nothing more than values stacked in endless rows and columns. Data transforms into insights only when you answer questions that are relevant to the day-to-day decisions businesses face.” Wigren has a background in IT Consulting and Digital Marketing, where he helped large and small organizations make better decisions using data. When he joined a garden center management team, he was surprised at the lack of good data available in the industry. This inspired Peter to start Simple Spring.

For more information
Simple Spring, Inc.
Email: [email protected]