At Cultivate’22, Katie Dubow, President of Garden Media Group, presented the 2023 Garden Trends Report: “I Believe in Me”. According to Dubow, the two most important driving forces at the moment are people and access. And in a world dominated by uncertainty, the overall trend of 2023 is rooted in self-intention and personal empowerment. Dubow said consumers feel empowered when using the garden center’s products and feel like they can make a difference for themselves, their families and their communities.
“We can’t control external factors, but we can control what we do, what we buy, our values — we choose products that match those values. Now is a great time for us to take some responsibility as an industry for the choices we make because our consumer is going to demand it,” she said.
Here are the seven trends businesses should prepare for in 2023:
1) Tesla Effect
“Tesla” is synonymous with innovation, and every company wants to be the next top innovator. However, Dubow said consumers drive the technology and it is changing rapidly. She pointed out that the green industry has become more electric or battery-powered than any other industry, and that items like electric mowers, leaf blowers and other equipment are on the rise. She said the innovative, electric tools are easier to use and much more accessible than their gas-powered counterparts, and are empowering gardeners everywhere.
Customers are swapping out, replacing these older (and somewhat cumbersome) tools with power tools. This will be an important trend in the industry in the future, especially as digital natives – who have grown up with technology and are used to accessing things at the push of a button – start gardening and entering the market. Retailers should also start thinking about smart devices and apps, as many gardeners are using apps to help them grow their own food, track seedlings and more.
Additionally, customers have become accustomed to omnichannel shopping methods, and as such, they are making fewer trips to stores and expecting robust e-commerce options. As a result, Dubow predicts that in 2023, IGC consumers will be looking for an all-in-one one-stop shop where they can buy everything in one place.
2) Backdoor Revolution
As inflation, interest rates and tight inventories influence a volatile housing market, millennials – the largest generation – are caught in the housing crisis.
“What will impact our industry is that first-time home buyer. So [millennials] are coming to a time when they are supposed to buy perennials, shrubs, vegetables, hanging baskets, containers – but they can’t because they are overpriced. So not only are they not buying homes, they can’t find rentals,” she said.
Enter the ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Units – smaller, self-contained units that can be attached or detached from houses. ADUs aren’t a new concept, but the regulations around them are “changing like wildfire” to allow people to enter communities with better access to schools, transit and neighborhoods, a- she declared. Dubow predicts that these will arrive in most mid-sized cities. IGCs are ready to provide these ADU dwellers with offerings such as vertical plantings, privacy hedges, trellises, vines and container plants.
3) Accessible gardening
People are living longer and “Super Agers” – whose brains work as if they were 30 years younger – have a range of productivity and lifestyles, especially gardening. While many IGCs often focus on reaching out to millennials, Dubow says the industry can’t forget the baby boomer generation.
“The baby boomer generation that has long loved our products and services is not going away. They are growing and we are still able to serve them, but in different ways. »
Retailers can do this by focusing on the “aging down” aspect, which taps into the nostalgia of youth. This is something retailers can leverage for both baby boomers and millennials.
Dubow pointed out that millennials are very interested in reboots, remakes, vinyl, and mid-century modern design. As for baby boomers, IGCs can offer tropical plants to remind them of their honeymoons or robot companions that help them weed. Dubow suggests getting creative and advises retailers to rebrand their logos to a retro version or revive a successful product that was popular years ago. Lean into your IGC story to share your story, she said.
4) Plant Tok
The average TikTok user spends 52 minutes a day on the video-sharing app, and retailers stand to benefit from that exposure, Dubow said. With TikTok, IGCs can gain more exposure and leverage videos, as content can be repurposed and passed on to other social media channels. And because it’s a more democratized form of social media thanks to an algorithm that rewards quality content, anyone can go viral overnight, regardless of their follower count, Dubow said. .
TikTok is a big trending force, and retailers can get the inside scoop on trending plants or even copy mainstream trends and add a fun plant twist. Additionally, she said that IGCs should follow green app industry influencers for inspiration.
TikTok has also fueled the rise in self-expression, Dubow said. From whimsical aspirations inspired by the Gnomecore trend to herbs inspired by WitchTok, retailers can be in the know and offer these customers exactly what they’re looking for. Moon gardens are also a big trend on the app, and Dubow predicts they will experience a booming resurgence in 2023. IGCs can prepare and store landscaping tips, sculptures, moon gates, and Moreover.
5) All Greek for me
Grecian-inspired gardens are having a moment, and Gen-Z is embracing that trend, Dubow said. Greek gardens aim to showcase romantic beauty, which includes statues, stone walls and archways. IGCs can highlight the use of raised beds and patios, as well as climbing plants around archways and tall trees. Dubow also suggests using plants to shade seats. For a customer looking to recreate their own Greek garden, retailers should emphasize the use of hardy, water-efficient plants like succulents, boxwood and roses, as well as bulbs like agapanthus and the cyclamen in the lawn.
Dubow also pointed out that because gravel gardens are drought and heat tolerant, they require 80% less maintenance once established. Additionally, gardeners can add pops of color to gravel gardens with potted plants to make their gravel gardens stand out, she said. Dubow said research is essential for customers wanting to install a gravel garden, as it is difficult to set up and involves high-level design.
6) Redraw the map
The world is getting warmer and as a result hardiness zones have changed, she said. Currently, trees are not adapting fast enough and trees are one of the tools that can help fight climate change. However, she noted that garden centers need to ensure they are selling hardy trees that will still be around 50 to 100 years old. Additionally, CGIs should consult and connect with local arborists or tree experts on the best trees to plant in their area and where clients should plant them. Dubow said continuing customer education on “the right plant, in the right place” is vital to the success of the tree’s future.
7) Color of the year
Dubow shared that the Garden Trends Report’s 2023 color of the year is terracotta. Terracotta encompasses a warm palette of sage greens, creams and beige browns – all of which are having a moment in the retail landscape.
Retailers can stock containers, rugs or accent pillows in these hues or even invite local painters to come paint terracotta planters. Rooted in intention and resurrected from the sour oranges of the 60s and 70s, Terracotta signifies an optimistic future, she said.
“It evokes a spirit of so many different cultures, and all the different ways that different cultures think of this color. In our Western culture, it’s more about warmth and excitement and fun – and this is what 2023 is going to be,” she said.