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Departments - Editor’s Note

November 2, 2022

We spend a lot of time and effort focusing on the future of this industry whether it’s planning for the upcoming spring, predicting the next big trend or crafting a long-term business plan. And, of course, it’s crucial to any business’ survival to be prepared for what comes next.

But as they say, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s why we’re focusing on the past for a change in our 10th annual State of the Industry Report.

The State of the Industry survey has evolved over the years to reflect the changing marketplace but some things remain the same. Instead of asking about the effects of the Great Recession, we’re asking about the impact of product shortages, inflation and shipping costs. But some issues, like staffing, unpredictable weather and the ever-crucial spring selling season, will always be an important part of the report.

In looking back at years of data (and with the onset of COVID far enough in the past to give us some perspective), we can really see the impact of the pandemic-era gardening boom on the industry. Profits were on the decline in 2018, with the fewest IGCs reporting a projected profit in the history of the survey, and things weren’t looking much better in 2019. But when consumers discovered, or re-discovered, the joy of plants in 2020, the number of IGCs projecting a profit jumped up 16 percentage points. And the number of profitable IGCs has continued to grow from there.

Another obvious change has been in marketing. Social media has taken over websites as the preferred marketing channel while newspaper ads are far less popular as traditional media fades away. I was surprised to find that email is almost exactly as popular as it was in 2012, as are hosting events, TV ads, direct mail, classes and radio.

There are so many other changes you can read about in this year’s State of the Industry Report, and there’s more to come. We couldn’t fit all of the data in this issue, so be on the lookout for more stats on point-of-sale systems, social media, working capital, crops and succession planning in future articles and newsletters.

We hope you find the perspective of the past 10 years of data enlightening and inspiring.

And as always, thank you to everyone who took this year’s survey. We appreciate your time and your insights!

Kate Spirgen | kspirgen@gie.net