With less disposable income to spend for travel and vacations, more American consumers are spending more time at home and investing in home and garden beautification to make their little corner of the world a more enjoyable place to be.
In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers for Kline's study The Impact of the Recession on the U.S. Non-crop Pesticide Markets, 2009–2014, nearly 50% of respondents said they already purchase gardening products, nearly double the incidence of any other specialty pesticide category. Plus, gardening was the only consumer pesticide product or service category to show an increase in purchases during the 2008–2009 slowdown.
In fact, 42% of users said they have increased spending on garden products during the economic crunch, by an average of 25%. This welcome news has helped to keep the forecast growth rate in gardening products 1% to 2% above the other consumer pesticides. While nearly every other category is expected to post flat real growth with only price increases for growth, gardening is predicted to grow by more than 4% over the next five years.
Meanwhile, 18% of respondents in the representative sample reported that they currently buy home lawn care services, both mowing and chemical application. Another 12% have not purchased for 12 months, a pretty good indication that they have dropped the service. However, only an additional 1% planned to drop it in the future, while 11% planned to enter the market, an indication that the market decline has flattened and is positioning for growth once again.
The take-away message is that even in a down economy, new customers are making plans to enter or re-enter the lawn care service market. Marketers who develop plans to accommodate the new entrants will gain share once the economic rebound. Additionally, 44% of respondents have never purchased the service, a fact that presents an opportunity for marketers.
For service providers, the key to converting those non-buyers into customers lies in understanding and playing to consumers' desires for a more enjoyable home environment — a lusher and greener lawn worthy of a "staycation," at an affordable price. In this kind of sales conversion strategy, demonstrating return on investment is critical-potential customers must understand that the price they pay for the service is worth the benefits they will reap, and services must be packaged to deliver value to potential new users.
Similar to the lawn services market, an opportunity exists for DIY consumer lawn products marketers to reach non-buyers. In Kline's survey, 23% of respondents reported that they never buy lawn products, which amounts to untapped potential for suppliers and marketers. To increase product sales, market share and profitability, marketers must not only understand why customers do buy, but also why they don't. Is it a lack of understanding or appreciation for the results? Concerns about efficacy, safety, or cost? By specifically addressing the reasons customers don't buy, marketers in this segment can be more effective in changing that position.
"The Impact of the Recession on the U.S. Non-crop Pesticide Markets, 2009–2014," conducted by Kline & Company, December 2009. Website: www.klinegroup.com.