Houseplant study signals new consumer purchasing behaviors

Added December 10, 2021

Hortica is a brand of Sentry Insurance Group. We co-sponsored the new industry research.

Today, the Floral Marketing Fund (FMF), released the results of a consumer preferences study about houseplants that was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We co-sponsored the study along with Altman PlantsCosta FarmsGreen Circle Growers, and Metrolina Greenhouses. The study explored underlying motivations and addressed houseplant purchasing trends, which will allow the industry to better understand consumer interests.

The study was conducted by researchers Dr. Melinda Knuth, NC State University, Dr. Hayk Khachatryan, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, UF/IFAS, and Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University. Researchers first presented the results to the industry through a webinar. Both the webinar recording and the full report are now available for viewing.

To better understand the rising popularity of houseplants over the last decade, the study focused on gaps in information that speak to the main drivers of consumer usage. Most recently, due in part to COVID-19, sales have grown as people spend more time at home and engage in more plant-related activities.

By identifying plant purchasing motivations during COVID-19, the study results can help horticulture businesses determine how to sustain positive growth in this segment as consumers return to their pre-pandemic life and work activities.

The Consumer Houseplant Purchasing Study focused on houseplants specifically. The study answers questions like:

  • What type of outlets do different consumers prefer to shop for houseplants?

  • Why are older consumers less likely to buy houseplants?

  • Which houseplant categories do consumers like best?

  • To what extent do value-added attributes like decorative pots increase the probability of purchase?

The study collected data through an online survey to provide a national sample. All six industry supporters provided input on the survey questions and layout. The collaborative effort between the researchers and sponsors led to more impactful data for the industry. In the core section of the survey, subjects observed a subset of houseplant images and rated several factors, including their likelihood to purchase, the acceptable price range for the houseplant, and the level of care they associated with the plant. The data collected during the survey could then show comparisons between 2021 and the results of the pre-COVID survey in 2019.

The findings reveal reasons for optimism throughout the industry, with data indicating that purchasers plan to continue increasing their purchasing into 2022. The purchasers also felt happier throughout the pandemic due to having plants in their homes, further demonstrating the potential mental health benefits of plants. More results, along with the webinar recording, can be accessed for free.

Our team thanks the Floral Marketing Fund, co-sponsors, and researchers for making this impactful study possible. You can view other consumer research reports and collaborative industry efforts on the Floral Marketing Fund’s website. While you’re there, consider making a contribution to help support future efforts and studies.

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