As the pandemic forced people to spend more time at home, one activity many have turned to is gardening. A Reuters article published in 2020 found that there are a number of reasons for why this is the case, ranging from a family’s pursuit of a hobby suitable for everyone to countries, like Russia and Singapore, searching for solutions to food security concerns.
While some saw stocking up on toilet paper as imperative at the outset of the pandemic, others focused on seeds. In that same Reuters article, an owner of a seed company noted that “seed demand tends to rise when times are tough economically.”
The seed aspect is definitely an angle that business journalists should look at when reporting on this topic. One of the first places to look at are the seed retailers and examine the trends they are noticing with sales. In New Zealand and Australia, seed sellers saw orders increase to 10 times higher than normal at the beginning of the pandemic. In the U.S., an employee for Maine-based Fedco seeds said the company typically reaches its daily order limit within 10 minutes. Reporters can also look at libraries. Since a decent amount of public libraries give out seeds, it could be insightful to look into what they have been noticing regarding the demand for their seeds.
Another avenue to follow is talking with a horticulturist based in the area. People come to them for advice about growing seeds, and they can speak to whether there is an increase in queries or not. A chief horticulturist in Britain found that queries had increased during the country’s lockdown. Examining surveys of local buyer trends could also provide a good look into what people’s spending habits are like at the moment.
An increase in spending on seeds likely means an increase in spending on complementary goods within the gardening industry, like gardening equipment/tools, fertilizer, etc. Checking on the demand on those items could also give a good view of what the outlook is for the industry.
Last but not least, an area of importance to look at is inflation – the rise in prices of goods in an economy over a period of time. The food industry saw an inflation of its prices due to the pandemic and quarantine. Households stayed at home to eat more in 2020; this increased demand for food at home led to an increase in prices of related goods. This inflation of prices is expected to continue into 2021.
The inflation that is happening in the food industry is important to the gardening industry because it could drive consumer behavior. As prices continue to rise, people will look for ways to lessen the financial burden and may look to gardening as a means to beating inflation.