Gardening catalog names wilt a bit

Feb 01, 2008 10:30 PM  By

Given that more than 90 million American households participate in some form of gardening, you might expect to see the number of available names in the market creeping up.

But the gardening catalog market has shown a slight decline over the past two years, according to New York based media brokerage firm ParadyszMatera. The total 12-month active universe was 5.5 million names in the third quarter of 2007, down 8.9% from the third quarter of 2006. In the past two years, the gardening universe shrank by 9.8%.

Gardener’s Supply Co. tops the list with the largest active file of buyers. It has 473,453 names. All of the other catalogs in the top-five list fall under the MySeasons parent brand: Breck’s Dutch Bulbs, which has 410,822 names, Michigan Bulb with 382,341, Spring Hill Nurseries at 354,739, and Gurney’s Seed and Nursery Co., which checks in with 351,148 names.

Which garden catalog files have seen notable growth? Increased prospecting has helped Kelly Nurseries grow 37.2% during the past year. The company, which specializes in seeds, bulbs and plants, saw its house file grow by 7,300 names in 2007. Park Seed Co. increased its file 8.2%, gaining 17,000 names in the past year.

Gardening products mailers have been using more incentives in the past few years. As of the third quarter of 2007, 29% offered some sort of incentive. That’s up from 25% in 2006 and 18% in 2005.

Catalogers such as Forestry Suppliers, Gilbert H. Wild and Son, and The Pond Guy have all offered free shipping to entice green-thumbed shoppers to make a purchase. The percentage offering free shipping has increased from 2% in 2005 to 4% in 2006, to 5% in the third quarter of 2007.

Use of discounts was also up from 13% of mailers offering them in 2005 to 22% last year and 24% year-to-date in 2007.

House file universe: gardening catalogs

3Q
2005
4Q
2005
1Q
2006
2Q
2006
3Q
2006
4Q
2006
1Q
2007
2Q
2007
3Q
2007
Total universe 6.1 6.0 6.3 5.8 6.0 5.9 5.6 5.6 5.5

Gardening catalogs with the largest active-buyer files

Rank List name 3Q 2007 house file universe Average order
1 Gardener’s Supply Co. 473,453 $83
2 Breck’s Dutch Bulbs 410,822 $55
3 Michigan Bulb 382,341 $20
4 Spring Hill Nurseries 354,739 $60
5 Gurney’s Seed and Nursery Co. 351,148 $42
Source: ParadyszMatera