In its 35th annual survey of lawn and garden market trends, the National Gardening Association (NGA) reports 91 million (83 percent) of American households participated in some kind of do-it-yourself indoor and outdoor lawn and garden activities in 2005.
"This sets a new record and an increase of 11 percent over 2004 — that's 9 million households and the greatest single-year rise reported in the last five years," said Bruce Butterfield, NGA's research director. "This makes sense given the high rate of home sales over the last few years."
The 2005 National Gardening Survey, conducted for NGA by Harris Interactive Inc., cites retail sales increases in nine of the 16 lawn and garden categories, including:
Despite these growth indicators, the average amount spent per household on lawn and garden products and services decreased, resulting in a small decline in total lawn and garden sales ($35.208 billion) in 2005 — 5 percent less than the five-year average, and 4 percent less than in 2004 ($36.778 in sales).
Total lawn and garden sales have not seen a significant increase in the last three years, and over the past five years, total lawn and garden retail sales have ranged from a low of $33.404 billion in 2000 to a high of $39.635 billion in 2002 and averaged $36.885 billion.
Butterfield doesn't see this as an anomaly. "Our research indicates that new lawn and garden participants tend to spend far less the first year. As their interest and expertise in these activities grows, so does their spending."
Households that spent the most on their lawns and gardens in 2005 included those with no children at home, married households, college graduates, two-person households, those in the South, those with annual incomes over $75,000 and people who are 45 years old and older.
Butterfield said, "The challenge now is to get 18- to 34-year-olds into the garden. They're now the largest segment of the U.S. household population, but as a group they participate less in lawn and garden activities than others, and those who do spend less money. They've also been brought up in a tech-focused age, and if it doesn't have a keyboard or a remote control, it's hard to reach them. We have to find a way to get them involved."
Mike Metallo, president of NGA, sees this as an opportunity. "The survey indicates that a growing majority of Americans are interested in some relationship with plants and stewardship of their landscapes. As a strategic partner, NGA can help introduce the young adult market to gardening by reaching their children through garden-based education. After all, kids thrive academically and socially in learning gardens, and they also offer a path to improved nutrition and health. It's a win-win-win proposition!"
For more information about The 2005 National Gardening Survey or to purchase a copy, visit www.gardenresearch.com .