How is the health crisis accelerating the garden sector transformation? What will tomorrow’s garden look like? Analysis of the lessons to be learned from this period and the consumer purchasing behaviour implications.
Has the health crisis experienced in 2020 led to a change in consumers behavior?M.R.: "The health crisis experienced in 2020 and especially the confinement have not so much created new behaviors, but rather affirmed certainties, attitudes and wills among consumers. Urban densification has shown its limits. What good is a city if there are no more jobs and distractions? Confinement has allowed many apartment residents to take a step back from their lives: "What's the point of living in such a small space when I'd get at least twice as much for the same rent outside the country?.
Today, two phenomena are accelerating to compensate for this lack: urban exodus on the one hand and the « renaturation » of cities on the other hand."
What do you mean by "accelerating the urban exodus"?M.R.: "The figures are beginning to worry the French public authorities. The French Observatory of Housing (OBSOCO) indicates that, in 2020, less than half of the inhabitants of the "Ile de France" are satisfied with their housing. Even if this trend has already been well established since 2018, today 88% of these people are thinking of leaving the city in the next two years. This means that 6 out of 10 French people are thinking of changing their living environment in favor of greener, less urbanized areas.
Add to this the government measures aimed at encouraging partial unemployment and/or home office, planned for the next three years, and the conclusion of a reinforced urban exodus is obvious."
Could the "renaturation of cities" change the situation?M.R.: "The renaturation of cities is accelerating, with French public orders to city planners aiming to reimplant more green space in the city. Will these actions be fast enough and sufficient to stem this exodus?
The reality is that the search for green space to establish one's new place of residence appears in the top 3 priorities of individuals when moving."
What impact will these behaviors have on the garden and DIY market?M.R.: "The garden and DIY market experienced a record upturn in 2020, and we can expect this to be a sustainable trend if this comeback to the countryside accelerates. Larger plots of land will imply new needs, particularly in terms of plant mass, but also in terms of maintenance, mulching, motorized cultivation, etc.
Rural garden centers are already beginning to take advantage of the influx of these neo-rurals, who have important needs and a good purchasing power."
Is the post-covid gardener optimistic or pessimistic?M.R.: "In fact, both exist and this is mainly due to their generational differences.
The older consumer will be quite pessimistic. He no longer believes in an improvement of the climate, the seasons and the environment. He has somehow given up.
As a result, he is looking for ways to make his daily life lighter and easier. He confines himself to his garden which he arranges to be weatherproof and climate-proof; resin and plastic are for him safe values because they do not require maintenance. His consumer habits will explain the increasing sales of synthetic grass, resin garden shelters, home automation, as well as pest control products and invasive plants.
On the contrary, the optimistic, younger consumer believes that there is still room for change. He has been able to observe, thanks to the multitude of testimonials on social networks, and in just a few weeks of confinement, that nature could "take back its rights" just about everywhere in the world. With his strong convictions, he will now opt for a garden that gives nature its rightful place, using permaculture when possible, a garden where plastic is banned and natural materials are strongly favored.
In particular, he has returned to using all types of wood for landscaping, as well as their maintenance products, with linseed oil in first place."
What are the consequences for the garden sector retail?M.R.: "These two opposite views coexist and currently limit the market within which all the diversity and complexity of our human behaviors oscillate at the present time.
The interest of the retail is determined by its ability not to denigrate the "old" generations while not underestimating the importance of the new generation, which will be the majority of future consumers between now and 2025."
Tomorrow, what will be the ideal business model for retail?M.R.: "The ideal business model will focus on nature.
From H&M to IKEA or E.LECLERC, all the brands are aiming for a better consideration of the environment in the future.
Although not vital for the consumer, this awareness will also be reinforced by pressure on our waste and will therefore become almost a priority. In all this transformation, nature is at the heart of the matter: there are many manifestations of it, from Nature & Découvertes to Terres & Eaux or lamaison.fr. Retailers are reinventing themselves to provide a reconnection of mankind to the Earth's reality.
Suppliers and retailers must listen today to the grievances of the new generation that will be the typical customer tomorrow, because we can’t forget that, the generation of millennials is today in the world, the generation that surpasses all others, demographically and economically."
October 2020 - itw with Manuel Rucar Chlorosphere for JdC Garden Trends