What is the market position of garden centres?19 October 2016
Flowers and plants are sold to consumers through various channels. Royal FloraHolland is examining the sales channels, and every quarter a sales channel will be highlighted and the differences between countries described. This time read more about the garden center market.
Garden centres appeared to meet the consumers' need to buy plants for their gardens. Growers responded by selling their own garden plants. At a later stage, they sold other plants on the side, to enlarge their assortment. Then tools, fertiliser and other gardening articles followed, and houseplants, garden furniture, barbecues and much more were added. In the Netherlands, 37% of houseplants are bought in garden centres. In other West European countries, garden centres are also important for the sales of houseplants. There are great variations from country to country, which are often due to cultural differences or habits.
Garden centres in different countries
In most countries, garden centres are shops selling products used in the garden. Garden centres in the UK sell almost exclusively garden articles and only occasionally houseplants. The share of houseplants in the total sales does not exceed 5%. There are also garden centres that have developed into shops with a wide range of products for in and around the house. The emphasis lies increasingly on fun shopping. Along with the wide-ranging product assortment, there is often a restaurant for the visitors. A development that is commonly seen among our western neighbours is chains of garden centres that collaborate on purchasing or marketing.
France is conspicuous due to the large number of garden centre chains. In Germany, the scarcity of chains is striking, as many garden centres work independently. Thus, the core countries in our marketing region are undergoing their own development.
In many countries in eastern Europe, garden centres are hard to find. The garden centres that are there originate from the production aspect, but have not developed further. The role and function of these garden centres are often taken over by DIY stores. Chains from France or Germany frequently take on the role of garden centres as an extension of the home improvement market.
Sales of houseplants in garden centres
In the core countries the garden centres are responsible for 16% of the sales of houseplants. This share is coming under pressure. In the last few years, garden centres have been experiencing competition from the supermarkets regarding the sales of houseplants. And for a plant to give as a present, consumers prefer to go to the florist as they add pretty packaging to make it a real present.
The main emphasis in garden centres lies in the personal use of green plants in the interior. In addition, the assortment in the garden centres is growing broader, making it increasingly difficult for consumers to choose between plants and other decorative materials, which are often easier to take care of.
In eastern Europe the garden centres have a market share of around 5%. The vast majority of sales are made by the DIY stores, supermarkets and the traditional florists.
More than just plants
In eastern Europe competition is provided by the DIY stores, while in western Europe, garden centres compete against supermarkets and florists. In addition, garden centres have had a difficult time weathering the economic crisis. Consumers had less money to spend, so they spent less at garden centres.
Nevertheless, garden centres remain a marketing channel with a lot of potential. The houseplants product group will have to do more to distinguish itself within the total range of products at the garden centre. The fixed values in the purchasing patterns of consumers are less and less prominent. The trick is: how do we get houseplants in the garden centre at the right time and place and in the right composition to stimulate consumers to buy?
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