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Will the luxury income gardener report for duty this Spring?


Where Will Luxury Money Go?

According to a press release from luxury market research firm Unity Marketing, affluent consumers spent nearly 10 percent less on luxuries in 2008 than they did in 2007.  We all get the feeling that this is the beginning of a downward trend, but the question is;  Will these ‘heavy lifters’ in the consumer market continue to delay gratification by saving, rather than spending? Or will pent up demand for luxury, after months of doing without, send them back to the stores to spend?

Danziger predicts, “Even when the recession is ended and the luxury market comes back, it won’t be the same as it was before this crisis.” That seems to be a reasonable prediction based on the response of consumers at this level to the 9-11 tragedies when they responded basically the same way – with increased savings and decreased spending. For certain, the change of mindset and habits that is taking place require new strategies and approaches. She says, “The luxury consumer market is shifting away from conspicuous consumption where ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’ to a new enlightened mindset of caring and sharing and where enhancing the quality of life is the goal. After 10-20 years of an extended spending spree, the luxury consumers have discovered that the pursuit of material wealth is not the answer. The achievement of affluent consumers will no longer be measured in the things they have and own or by the size of their home or brand of their car. They will measure life success in new ways, including what they contribute to society and in the ways they help make the world a better place for all of us.”

The changed economics, attitudes, and feelings of the luxury consumer are impacting their spending in profound ways and although none of these factors alone would likely change the direction of the luxury market fundamentally, together they are at a scale almost guaranteeing that the luxury market is forever changed and will require different marketing and selling efforts to entice them to invest in luxury level goods and services.

The question for the lawn & garden industry is this; “How much effect will cabin fever and then spring fever have on gaining a larger share of the luxury spend?” Certainly aggressive marketing will be required to win the attention and stake out our claims. Developing these claims is an essential step. Remember that discounts and coupons are simple and mindless marketing that only serve to marginalize margins by reducing income from purchases consumers valued and intended to buy. The message that the outdoor home and garden are better intrinsic and real investments carries more meaning and brings more people, and dollars in the door.

Where will the luxury money go? It will probably depend more on what you do than on what they do, because what you do may determine what they do.

So how about a little online dialogue on this? Click on “Comments”, or “Leave a Reply” below to register your comments:

Do you plan to promote the benefits of horticulture rather than just your store, your merchandise, and your discounts and prices in your marketing?

And if so, How specifically do you plan do that?

2 Responses

  1. Just show them how it makes you feel good to be in the garden and let them take your lead. Be there to let them know they have a friend (sounds like a James Taylor song) and will help them by “bringing the joy of gardening home to you”. By the way that’s our tag line. LG @ Grossmans Country Nursery.

  2. Danziger says, ““The luxury consumer market is shifting away from conspicuous consumption where ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’ to a new enlightened mindset of caring and sharing and where enhancing the quality of life is the goal.”

    I believe independent garden centers are, or can be, positioned perfectly for this shift in the market. Who can better help the luxury consumer shift away from conspicuous consumption (fancy cars, vacations, and home theaters) to enhancing their quality of life (flowers, trees, and private gardens.) While it will be important for us to recognize the economic stress our customers are feeling, it will ultimately be our ability to help homeowners see how our products and people can enhance their quality of life that will determine our success this year.

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