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Plants per click

14 Dec 2020

eCommerce offers new opportunities for the green industry © Aleksander Vlad

eCommerce offers new opportunities for the green industry © Aleksander Vlad

eCommerce has also long since hit the garden industry by storm. Even plants are purchased more and more frequently online. Dealers can impress on the Internet with good ideas and top service.

Flower bulbs and seeds have been sent out all over the globe for more than 100 years already. Thanks to innovative packaging and networked logistics, geraniums for the balcony, sensitive botanic rarities for the garden or even pond plants can thus also be dispatched today so that they arrive at the recipient in perfect condition. This has given the Internet trade with fresh green plants a boost.

Every fifth web user has ordered plants online

In 2017, according to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media every fifth Internet user had already ordered flowers and plants online at least once. Today, online shops like for instance Hamburgplanten.de and Vielgruen.com offer plant lovers everything their hearts desire: Cut flowers and plants, plant pots and care products.

The most important target group for eCommerce: People aged 50 and over

Above all, older people use the convenient method of purchasing plants online. The most important target group for the web business is the age group of 50+. In 2017, the 50 to 64-year-olds accounted for 27 percent of the online buyers of flowers and plants. The over 65-year-olds made up a further 25 percent. The share of under 29-year-olds on the other hand was merely 12 percent.

eCommerce is showing dynamic growth

According to the Garden Industry Association (IVG), overall, the eCommerce turnovers for the German garden trade increased from Euro 279 million up to almost Euro 1.1 billion between 2010 and 2019. That corresponds to a growth of 291 percent. However in terms of the overall turnover volume of the industry, which amounted to around Euro 18.7 billion in 2019, eCommerce only makes up 5.8 percent. Nevertheless, the online trade in the garden industry is growing sharply – even if after years of two-digit growth rates the dynamic did slow down slightly last year: down to "just" eight percent.

E-commerce sales in the garden center market in Germany 2010 to 2019 © Klaus Peter Teipel - Research & Consulting

E-commerce sales in the garden center market in Germany 2010 to 2019 © Klaus Peter Teipel - Research & Consulting

The plant trade is still a haptic business

Trading with plants and garden supplies is therefore still more of a "haptic" business. The consumers especially want to examine plants for their home, balcony and garden in all their splendour before making their choice. And they pay attention to the highest quality and freshness – which makes eCommerce challenging in spite of improved packaging and logistics. One certainly can't talk about a transformation of the market yet; however, the online plant trade is providing the industry with important impulses.

Corona crisis is pushing the online trade

After the "slump in growth" in 2019, the Corona crisis has probably given the Internet trade of the green industry a new boost this year. Because the interest in Internet shopping has no doubt particularly grown among the younger target groups, who haven't been very active online so far when it comes down to "greenery". The opportunities are indeed good, especially for hybrid business. Garden centres, nurseries and specialised dealers can use their know-how to develop or further develop eCommerce as an additional sales channel.

How dealers can further boost their business

Dispatching high-quality, durable plants fast and safely is the basis for successful online business and demands optimally organised order processing. Express and weekend deliveries provide new opportunities here. Good service and customer loyalty ideas are even more promising. Here, gardeners and specialised dealers can exploit their competence: With fresh guarantees for the delivered plants, with round-the-clock delivery services, with blogs and explanatory videos on themes like plant care, sustainable gardening, pruning roses or fruit trees, designing new beds or ponds and of course with customer loyalty schemes.