3 lessons for the garden market

The JdC Garden Trends is a unique opportunity to take stock of the market, to write tomorrow and to formalise the new strategies that lie ahead, on neutral ground with unobstructed visibility. To help you see more clearly and further afield, find out more about the market from our partner, the trends consultancy CHLOROSPHERE. Today, let's take stock of what has changed in our market since the recent crises.

For a long time, certain subjects were taboo, even decried, but today the facts are in, whatever the sector. Reports, consumer studies and market analyses are converging on facts that brands and chains must now integrate into their future strategies:

Fact number 1: no more climate inaction, consumers are taking back control

Pressurised by the media, energy guilt, waste taxes and commitments made in high places, consumers have become aware of their role in climate issues.
Even if climate denial is still fairly widespread in France (43% of French people do not believe that climate change is linked to human activity! This compares with 16% in Italy and 33% in the USA), the IPCC reports and international consensus are clear: climate change is 100% man-made...

From 2023, with the ban on non-reusable packaging in over 30,000 fast-food outlets in France, and then from 2024 with the ban on French people throwing compostable waste in their household rubbish, our actions will be increasingly regulated. But amid all this upheaval in consumption, it's worth noting that among the youngest consumers, 1 in 3 purchases is guided by this quest for greater environmental virtue, and that overall, 1 in 3 French people say they would like to shift their purchases towards more environmentally-friendly products.

It is therefore directly through their purchases that consumers will sanction, or at least arbitrate, the decisions taken by brands and chains with regard to their impact on the climate.

Fact number 2: demographics have changed consumer codes.

Since 2019, millennials (25-45 year-olds) have become the majority of consumers. Currently estimated at 46% of the working population, they are expected to pass the 50% mark as early as 2025. In the most reactive sectors, such as fashion, it is even the 20-30 year-olds (generation Z) who are the most closely watched to dictate tomorrow's market. In our home furnishings, garden and leisure sectors, it is the young families of millennials who are now the heart of the target, and who have outnumbered the 50-year-old housewife. These 14 million working people are in the process of building their consumption habits, settling down, creating a home and stabilising their habits. This is where the process of building loyalty to brands and chains comes into its own, and all the new generation chains have understood this by targeting them. To characterise them, let's note that they want to break away from their parents' codes (a phenomenon of generational flight that we observe very well on social networks: when parents arrive on one, their children flee to another!) 

Since 2020, the garden market has gained around 30% of new customers, 83% of whom are millennials. Since then, 81% have stayed and 73% garden in a garden (and not in the city, as you might expect!). This highly strategic target group will obviously need to be pampered as soon as possible to ensure that they buy in, especially as most of them now prefer products that are not 20/80! All the more reason to overhaul the product range...

Finding number 3: a world of nuances.

It would be much easier to put customer profiles into boxes, to choose between 2 or 3 options, and yet the society that is emerging is multi-faceted. You only have to look at the TV series or new cinema releases to see that today's villains have an endearing side, and the good guys a dark side. Nobody is perfect, and neither will the world of tomorrow. Oscillating between the dream of a better world and the despair of a finite one, consumers keep in mind that their choices are more and more involved, but they don't forget to treat themselves and to be kind. Better living together" is a notion that is emerging more and more in opinion polls, with the search for kindness, benevolence and thoughtfulness at the top of the list. The rejection of intolerance, toxic masculinity and marginalisation are also very high on the list of new consumers' expectations of the world of tomorrow. In all of this, it is the quest for meaning and authenticity that predominates. So it's no coincidence that many of today's advertising campaigns are ever closer to our world, involving bucolic scenes, flowers, plants and outfits worthy of a gardening scene. In a world that doesn't always seem optimistic, it's worth remembering that gardens are the stuff of dreams and that 40% of French people would like to spend more time in them every day.

In conclusion, buy less? Better? Cheaper?

What is certain is that new consumers are not looking to buy for less at any price, as shown by the significant drop in sales volumes on this latest Black Friday 2022, especially in ready-to-wear clothing, which is much criticised for its environmental and social impact. 68% of 18-34 year-olds would like to work more to cope with their declining purchasing power (compared with a national average of 40%). As far as spending is concerned, a valuable indicator was revealed by Google last December: since 2018, the query "cheaper" or "cheap" has been steadily decreasing, indicating that consumers are tending to break away from low-end, low-quality products that are not very durable and ultimately consumable, and are gradually moving towards products that will last longer, are better designed and fairer... a lesson to be learned for our garden world.

- March 2023