The future is bright for Garden Centres according to latest HTA research

Garden Centre Futures – Opportunities for Growth – a Garden Industry Monitor Special report, unveiled at the HTA Garden Futures Conference yesterday, provides an insight into the points of differentiation that garden centres have and the factors that set them apart from other retailers and outlets. The research focuses on consumer perceptions of garden centres, consumer reactions to products and promotions in garden centres, pricing and the environment.

The key findings include:

• The modern, multi department garden centre has become established and loved as a unique home and leisure shopping/browsing destination.

• Industry concerns that this new style of garden centre is losing its way appear to be unfounded, rather, they are carving out a new niche in the leisure retail sector.

• Garden centres main point of differentiation from other retailers is their unique offer of a female friendly environment for relaxation and browsing.

• While plants remain the most important part of the garden centre offer, keener gardeners are increasingly identifying with retail nurseries as the plant specialists.

• More people are visiting garden centres with the fastest growth coming from younger consumers.

• Marginal gardeners spend more money overall than keen gardeners.

• Garden centres need to attract and retain these younger consumers to optimise lifetime value.

Presenting the findings at the Garden Futures Conference HTA Director of Marketing Andrew Maxted said, “We have seen the proportion of people visiting garden centres increase by a fifth over the last four years. The fastest growth is amongst the younger age groups and this is where the potential lies for garden centres in capturing the interest of those consumers for their lifetime.”

He adds, “It is clear from the research that the key point of differentiation from other retail experiences that garden centres have are the opportunities for relaxation that they provide. This is particularly apparent amongst female consumers who list their key drivers for visiting as pleasant store environment, variety of products on offer, variety of ‘female friendly’ occasions catered for, similar clientele in store and high quality staff. So whilst appeal to women is the key differentiator it is important that men too are catered for as ‘shopping together as a couple for the home and garden’ is one of the prime reasons for visiting.”