New study explores current trends in consumer houseplant purchasing behavior

Added December 10, 2021

Along with pet adoptions and home gyms, houseplant purchases soared during COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. You probably noticed more customers coming through your shop doors searching for the perfect plant, or multiple plants, to nurture. “Plant parent” became a widely used term. And houseplant-focused social media groups emerged. The pandemic created a houseplant boom. But the question on business owners' minds is, “Can the industry sustain this positive growth when consumers return to their ‘normal' life and work activities?”

To help shed light on this important question, five major horticulture industry contributors collaborated to fund the research study, Houseplants Consumer Preference and Purchasing Behaviors. This is the first study to explore emerging trends in the present houseplant marketplace. Coordinated by the Floral Marketing FundHortica was one of the five contributors along with Altman PlantsCosta FarmsGreen Circle Growers, and Metrolina Greenhouses.

What the study revealed

Researchers in the horticultural sciences industry, Dr. Hayk KhachatryanDr. Melinda Knuth, and Dr. Charlie Hall, focused on the pandemic’s effect on houseplant purchases and what the current trends mean to greenhouse growers, nurseries, garden centers, and floral retail businesses. They surveyed approximately 2,000 consumers across the United States within an eight-month timeframe to uncover the primary motivation for purchasing plants during the pandemic and to determine the driving factors of those purchases.

We’ve looked carefully at the entire 290-page report and condensed the researcher’s key findings for you. Read on to see what they’ve learned.

Consumers anticipate a continued increase in their houseplant purchases

  • Houseplant gift-giving is on the rise. In 2021, 75 percent of purchasers would give a houseplant as a get-well gift, compared to 12 percent in 2019.

  • Consumers are most frequently purchasing flowering houseplants, succulents, and broad leaf foliage, but not necessarily at the highest prices. However, 2021 purchasers are willing to pay a higher average price value in every plant category.

  • Purchasers in 2021 are more active in their houseplant hobbies, particularly with succulents, than they were in 2019. The researchers forecast houseplant purchases will remain strong as this trend continues.

  • Younger, unmarried millennials aren't the only demographic driving demand anymore. An increased purchasing trend is represented across a range of ages, genders, household sizes, and geographic locations.

  • Plant purchases soared to unprecedented levels during the past two years—and remain at high levels—as consumers consider nurturing their plants during the pandemic a form of self-care. Houseplants make them feel happier.

Social media largely influences purchasers

  • Nearly 85 percent of purchasers have a social media account. Most access their accounts through their mobile phones and check their social media accounts on a daily basis.

  • Nearly 67 percent of purchasers follow houseplant retailers, organizations, and growers on social media, and almost half are influenced to purchase products from a specific business after seeing its social media post.

  • First-time and repeat purchasers look for post-purchase care tips on social media. Many have joined Instagram accounts and Facebook groups dedicated to plant care.

  • Even consumers who haven't yet purchased houseplants are following houseplant retailers and growers. Thirty percent of non-houseplant purchasers engage in retailer posts.

In-store purchasing remains king, but e-commerce is important

  • The majority of purchasers, 63 percent, prefer to purchase their houseplants in-store. Home improvement stores and independent garden centers are top-rated location choices.

  • Overall, purchasers indicate that retailers are providing satisfactory to above satisfactory offerings, value, quality, and service. Having a convenient location was a top factor.

  • Purchasers indicate they plan to increase their online purchasing by 53 percent and seem moderately interested in purchasing through e-commerce channels in the future.

  • A user-friendly website, purchase deals, and 24-hour access drive many consumers to online companies; however, some purchasers remain cautious buying live plants online.

Predicting post pandemic plant sales

While no one has a crystal ball revealing the future, the Houseplants Consumer Preference and Purchasing Behaviors study gives you an in-depth analysis of the houseplant purchasing surge and how it affects our industry.

Overall, the study indicates most customers want quality houseplants that make them feel happy, whether through new hobbies, gift giving or location decor. And the researchers’ findings suggest consumers will sustain their enthusiasm even as the COIVD-19 pandemic winds down.

Supporting the horticulture industry is important to us. Our goal is to provide business insurance coverage and risk management solutions specifically for owners like you. We only serve the horticultural industry and understand its challenges. If you have questions, our representatives are available to help you.

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