2021 horticulture industry trends

Added December 11, 2020
Someone looking at plants

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.

Consumer trends

Here are several notable patterns we saw from customers in 2020 as a result of the pandemic:

  • Online shopping became the format of choice
  • Deliveries and curbside pickup rose as consumers favored contactless transactions
  • At-home horticulture increased in popularity with more people at home for greater periods of time
  • Personal safety became a daily focus

Reacting to these changes and continuing to evolve will go a long way toward helping businesses experience a successful 2021.

Online shopping is here to stay

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.

Rise of the first-time growers

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.

Cooking at home continues

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.

Personal safety will remain priority No. 1

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.

Make customers feel comfortable when they’re at your business. Let them see you cleaning. Allow for social distancing, and have your employees wear masks.

Horticulture industry insurance trends

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.

Insurance options dwindle for growers

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.”

Costs will continue to rise for auto insurance

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:

  • Rising auto repairs costs
  • Rising medical costs
  • Greater frequency of accidents
  • Increase in weather-related disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires

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.

Growth in cyber liability insurance

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.

Cyber liability insurance is becoming a must-have for any business storing electronic data. This coverage helps protect you from claims resulting from the unintended release of confidential customer or employee information. Protecting customer data is very important for your business. It provides your customers peace of mind knowing their information is safe. It also makes them feel more comfortable about being a return customer to your business.
These are just some of the trends taking shape in the horticultural industry for 2021. Other circumstances and world events will lead to further changes. Keep abreast of the situations affecting your business and make adjustments that make sense for you. When it comes to your business insurance, ask questions and make sure you’re properly covered.

Related links:

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