2020 State of the Industry Report: impact of coronavirus

2020 State of the Industry Report: impact of coronavirus

See what your peers had to say about how COVID-19 affected their businesses in 2020.

October 6, 2020

Editor's note: Each September, we present the findings of our exclusive State of the Industry research. We surveyed nearly 300 independent garden center owners, operators and managers in the U.S. and Canada about their IGCs, markets and trends in their areas. The following statistics were gathered via an online survey in August. Editor’s note: Not all percentages will add up to 100% due to rounding and non-responses. Not all answer options are listed here.

Find out how IGCs fared this year in our September print issue or go to our State of the Industry section of our website. Read on for more insights into the current state of the industry and the changes that came with this year.

Here, let’s take a look at how COVID-10 affected IGCs.

When we first asked IGC owners and operators how the coronavirus was affecting their businesses in March, their outlooks were drastically different from what they are today. Back in March, less than a quarter of IGCs were reporting an increase in sales, but now nearly 90% have seen an uptick. We also asked how readers think COVID-19 will impact the industry in the future. Read what they had to say. (Responses have been edited for clarity and length.)

The quarantine era led to a renewed interest in gardening and planting. I hope to keep those new customers involved and interested.

It takes more people to run the store due to the need to disinfect carts, monitor entry to the yard, so labor costs are higher.

For now, business is booming. I fear a shortage of quality plant material and plant material of any size next year.

I think over the next couple of years, people might still be sticking closer to home and therefore still work in their gardens/yards. After that, perhaps IGCs will slow down slightly as people travel more again.

The short-term impact has been positive. However, it will be interesting to see if there is a “bubble”months down the road where things slow. However, most customers interacting with the business means more opportunity to put your business/product on display to a consumer. If they have a positive experience, it can only mean good things for business in the future.

This coronavirus experience taught us the value in having a well-groomed online store. We are happy with our online presence but need to do better and invest more into it.

We found out we don’t have to be open seven days a week to make profit. We will have to come up with plan in 2021 to solve customer count allowed to shop because of COVID-19 protocols. We have a five-year average of 650-750 per day in May and June but because of size of store area we could only process 350-400 per day.

The lack of digital content freely available is preventing our move to e-commerce and will continue to negatively impact our business until the horticultural supply industry changes their ways and offer a centralized website that all digital content is updated by the suppliers and is available to the IGCs free of digital copyright encumbrances.

Like many others we wanted to start an online store for years but never did it until we had to. We plan on continuing it but need to integrate with our POS inventory.