Business was anything but usual in 2020, including in the horticultural and florist industries.
An evolution was already underway in consumer habits, business adaptations, and insurance protection—and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated those changes.
As we look forward to 2021, COVID-19 will continue to influence how our industry does business. But it’s not the only factor. For instance, online purchases are becoming the shopping method of choice, and cybercrime is on the rise. How are insurance companies reacting?
Let’s explore these topics and more as we look at our 2021 horticultural industry forecast.
Here are several notable patterns we saw from customers in 2020 as a result of the pandemic:
Reacting to these changes and continuing to evolve will go a long way toward helping businesses experience a successful 2021.
According to Greenhouse Grower, in 2019, only 14 percent of garden shopping was done online—the same rate as grocery sales in 2019. However, curbside pickup increased 90 percent in the grocery market in 2020, with a similar trend in garden sales.
Businesses switched up their online operations because they had to. Consumers have now gotten used to shopping at home, getting their items quickly through delivery or pickup, and conducting cashless transactions. This scenario will continue in 2021, perhaps increasing by another 40 percent.
According to a Nulab survey, 72 percent of remote workers aren’t working from a dedicated office. They’re at home in their living rooms, bedrooms, or on their patios. And they’re looking to spruce up their surroundings with plants.
However, 2020 may have been their first attempt at exercising their green thumb. Of those at-home growers, 80 percent say they will continue growing in 2021. To keep these customers coming back, you need to help them stay engaged, or at least have them see progress in their efforts.
These consumers want smaller plants in unique displays, and they want fast-growing varieties. Adjust your inventory to meet these preferences.
Being at home means eating at home. For many, eating at home means more cooking—and growing—at home. Think herb gardens and pots filled with edible plants, which are perfect for those without a lot of room. How many of these plants are on your shelves or available in your online store?
For those with larger areas available, more consumers are creating functional landscapes, like gardens and food plots, versus static plants and areas of mulch.
Sales of vegetables and other organic options are on the rise. The fresher, the better. Food kits featuring these types of food are becoming even more popular.
How is the industry adjusting? According to Traci Dooley, national agency sales director for Hortica, rather than having a 25-acre greenhouse range and shipping product to more populated areas, more growers are producing crops on smaller plots closer to metropolitan areas, cutting out storage needs and shipping time.
The personal hygiene, social distancing, and cleaning measures used to help limit the spread of COVID-19 aren’t stopping just because the calendar flipped to a new year.
As consumer trends change, your business must evolve to meet the new demands. That might mean you add computer software, expand delivery operations, or change employee benefit plans to attract and retain employees.
Oftentimes, changes to your business also warrant a second look at your insurance coverages. Here are some insurance-related trends we see evolving going into 2021.
Some insurance companies are eager to jump into the horticultural industry because they see the market size and want a piece of the action.
“However, some of them aren’t prepared for the risks and soon they realize it’s a lot to handle from a loss standpoint,” Dooley said.
Those companies are leaving the market. They’re being joined by other more established insurance carriers that are getting out of the growing part of the industry.
“Slowly, growers are finding fewer reliable, financially sound business insurance options,” Dooley continued. “Insurance companies with industry experience to help their customers manage risks and help them rebuild after something unfortunate happens are the ones sticking around.”
If you own a vehicle, you know costs have gone up for auto insurance, and that trend will continue in 2021. Reasons behind this include:
The other key contributing factor touching all business with a trucking element is the rise in nuclear verdicts—judgments in which penalties exceed $10 million. Vehicles that feature the name of a business on the side are more susceptible to those judgments than other vehicles on the road.
To keep product moving in 2020, many businesses either added an online storefront or expanded their existing format. Unfortunately, handling more customer data means being a greater target of cybercrime.
How do you choose an insurance company? Cost, types of coverages, and risk management programs should be at the top of the list. Here’s what else you should look for.
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