Photo of green tomatoes on the vine

Interest in gardening has boomed

We received an interesting analysis from an online gardening supplier about consumer behavioral changes in search traffic for “gardening” and “growing veggies” since COVID-19.

We’ve seen similar increases in interest for our LEAF Seedling Sale, which has gone mobile this year, with over 100 varieties and 2,500 plants available. We totally revamped our buying process to No-Contact Sales so you can buy our plants safely.  Browse our online Plant Sale Catalog, order using our Sales Order Form, and choose curbside pickup or home delivery (within the Tri-City area.)

Here’s that analysis from the garden supplier:

Gardening during the time of COVID: An Analysis of Consumer Behavior

Never before has peoples’ behavior changed so much, so quickly. As much of the country is under lockdown, people are spending more time at home. What does that mean for growers? 

The team at McConkey conducted an analysis of web search traffic to quantify what consumers are looking for. And we found a massive change in consumer attitude toward gardening. Below is a chart showing seasonal search traffic for the term ‘gardening,’ with years going back to 2016. Consumers’ interest in gardening is remarkably consistent over the years, with a few minor variations – until 2020. 

Interest in gardening is 50% higher than the comparable time during prior years.
Is this spike in consumer interest equal across all product segments? We found that changes are very uneven. For example, traditional decorative plant products – hanging baskets being a prime example – are not benefiting from the same outsize increase in consumer interest. 

Hanging baskets appear to have interest in-line with prior years, and the data suggest that consumers are not rushing to buy decorative products.

Succulents are similarly not showing year-over-year increases.
So what’s driving the huge increases? Anything you can eat. Consumer interest in vegetables, for example, is unprecedented. Below is the data for ‘growing vegetables,’ now at a level of interest 2.5 times higher than a typical year. 

There could be many reasons for this. During times of crisis, consumers may be looking to be more connected with their source of food. They may worry about runs on groceries. They could be concerned about produce at stores being a source of contagion. Or they could simply have more time at home, and want a hobby. 

But judging by the data on consumer search behavior on ornamental plants – basically flat with last year – people are not looking just to fill their time with a hobby. 

They’re not looking for a prettier back yard. 

They want plants for the same reason flour and yeast is constantly out of stock at grocery stores: people view food as a source of security during a time of uncertainty. 

(Top image credit: gardener41/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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