HICKSVILLE, N.Y. -- Nearly all U.S. gardeners plant flower bulbs, but not all gardeners shop the same way.
That is why savvy retailers should identify and market to specific groups of gardeners, according to a study done by the International Flower Bulb Center of Holland. The center, which has its American office here, surveyed 2,000 consumers in 11 states. According to the survey, two distinct garden personalities, or psychographic groups, make up 43% of the core bulb-buying market.
Those two groups, which the study identified as "Garden Decorators" and "Garden Hobbyists," represent 27 million bulb customers.
Garden Decorators, who represent about a quarter of all bulb customers, described themselves as regular bulb buyers, according to the survey. They are generally women, and tend to span all ages and socio-economic groups. They garden regularly, and spend between $5 and $40 a year on bulbs.
People falling within this group consider themselves to be trend-setters and stylists and might view bulbs as quaint or esoteric. The study suggested that retailers marketing to this segment should position bulbs as trendy, seasonal necessities.
Retailers looking to cater to this group should also take a "high-fashion" approach to ads and promotions, the study found. The decorators expect good information, so attention-getting displays, good packaging and a knowledgeable sales force are essential. Garden Hobbyists represents 11 million garden owners. This group is comprised generally of females, of average age, who are in the middle to higher social circles. Hobbyists generally spend heavily on bulbs, about $40 to $60 a year.
Since hobbyists tend to plan their purchases, rather than spend impulsively, retailers should focus on suggestive selling to build on their habits, the survey recommended. That could include suggesting bulbs as gifts and selling bulbs in combination with other flowers.
The hobbyists also look for good education on climate and soil, the survey found. Product demos, clinics, lectures and garden clubs could be good ways to reach this group. The study also found three other groups of gardeners. The "Convenience Gardener" made up 15% of those in the survey. Eighty-four percent of this group have never purchased a bulb.