The resurgence of houseplants within the younger generation has seen an upward trend in the category amongst Garden Centre Association (GCA) members.
According to the GCA’s Barometer of Trade (BoT) report for October 2017, sales of houseplants were up 14.27% compared to the same month last year.
GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: “Houseplants have become fashionable again with the younger generation, as they need a lot less care and maintenance than most teens and young adults have the time for.
“They also play a huge part in home décor and accessorising and young people are wise to the benefits of having greenery in their homes.”
Other departments that saw improved sales during October include food hall and farm shop, which was up 6.15%, and clothing, up 7.12%. Catering was also up at 6.77%, whilst Christmas sales rose 3.44%.”
Houseplants may be on the increase but sales in outdoor plants were down -9.03%, seed and bulb sales were down -9.13% and garden sundries down 1.53%.
Perrywood Garden Centre communications and business developments manager Hannah Powell, said: “We saw a fantastic 37% increase in houseplant sales in October. We haven’t increased the space, as we already had a really large floor space dedicated to houseplants - instead we are using visual merchandising, posting on Instagram and hosting terrarium workshops to encourage sales from a younger audience. Buying trips to suppliers have also helped us to source some really exciting and varied plants, and the team has been able to increase the volume sold each week.
Unsurprisingly, sales of furniture and barbecue were down -4.49%, along with pets and aquatics down -5.16%, hard landscaping down -3.8%.
Gifts also saw minimal declines, down -0.87% but, hopefully, this will pick up as we head towards Christmas.
Member garden centre sales showed an average overall increase for the month of 0.6% and a year-to-date growth of 3%.
Perrywood’s Hannah Powell added: “Early sales for Christmas have been encouraging, we saw a 10% increase in October. This year’s ‘Lost in the Forest' theme has been very well received, with repeat visits from our core Christmas market - women with disposable income in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Social media advertising encouraged groups of friends and family to start shopping in October.
“Catering was up 11% in October. We expanded our kitchen at the start of the year so we did have capacity and have used social media campaigns and blogger engagement to promote the team’s improved offering.”
The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results.
Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, which has Castle Gardens in Sherborne, Poundbury Gardens in Dorchester and Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil, said: “Until recently houseplants have been somewhat in the doldrums in our industry for years, but we’ve always treated them as a vital department in our garden centres.
“Cacti, succulents, Bonsai and airplants are increasingly popular with younger customers who understand the environmental benefits of having plants in their home. With this in mind, we feel that this may be good a route for us to make contact with younger generations that we have been missing, who could be the outdoor gardeners of the future.”