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Growth of the Horticultural Industry Shows Importance of Digital Marketing


The growth of the horticultural industry has been tremendous during COVID-19. This comes as many other industries have sadly experienced significant losses as they try to adjust to the unexpected changes in consumer behavior and increased governmental regulations.

There are few statistical studies in existence on the growth of the horticultural industry as it pertains to the increased popularity of gardening during the pandemic. AmericanHort recently reported in their State of the Industry address that through June 21st (week 25) the Garden Center Group reported that YTD Sales (compared with the previous year) were up 30.4%.

There’s also some interesting preliminary data coming out of Purdue University from Ariana Torres, an assistant professor of horticulture and landscape architecture.

“If somebody had a budget for their garden this summer, that budget has been doubled or tripled,” she said. “That is bringing in new revenue to garden centers.” A reality occurring in communities across North America over the last few months.

Professor Joel Flagler of Rutgers University had this to say on the increased growth of the horticultural industry. “There are certain, very stabilizing forces in gardening that can ground us when we are feeling shaky, uncertain, terrified really. It’s these predictable outcomes, predictable rhythms of the garden that are very comforting right now.”

Nursery & Garden Center Challenge – Communication

But there has been one challenge for garden centers and nurseries during the pandemic – communication. With some smaller operations without a social media or digital marketing strategy (which got great results) , it became challenging (and sometimes impossible) to communicate to customers their new hours of operation, safety guidelines and protocols.

Torres explains, “Businesses that understand and set aside some of their budget for online marketing are going to be able to take advantage of this situation,” she said. “There’s an opportunity to be creative, and using online [platforms] for advertising is going to pay back in a big way. Centers that have adopted flexible, proactive, entrepreneurial and innovative marketing strategies, they’re doing pretty good.”

While garden centers and nurseries have been slow to adopt social media and digital marketing strategies in the past, COVID-19 has opened their eyes to the communicative power of the internet.

This is especially true (and important) when social media and digital marketing are your only option for reaching customers during unique circumstances such as the recent pandemic.

For those garden centers and nurseries who may still be reluctant towards a social media and digital marketing strategy, it’s important to remember that everything is scalable. You can start out small, with a minimal budgetary spend, enabling you to be competitive and relevant with customers almost immediately.

The growth of the horticultural industry doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, especially with fall vegetables and seasonable plantings on the horizon. It’s time to make sure you stay top of mind. For more information on social media and digital marketing strategies, click here.

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