State Of The Industry: Survey Says!

State Of The Industry: Survey Says!

Characterizing the state of the commercial greenhouse industry is a daunting task considering how segmented the industry is.

Some growers supply box stores while others serve independent retailers.
Some specialize in bedding plants while others primarily grow container perennials or flowering potted plants.
And some have facilities that warrant their own zip codes while others produce plants in single greenhouses.

The list of differences between U.S. greenhouse businesses is certainly a long one. At the end of each year, though, we survey growers to find out how the industry is doing as a whole. We ask growers about the year’s sales and their sales expectations for the coming year, as well as questions about opportunities and challenges their businesses are facing.

This year, we also surveyed suppliers of growers (i.e. chemicals, containers, fertilizers, etc.) about their sales, prices and priorities for 2011. Here’s what we learned.

Sales Analysis

Both growers and their suppliers were asked how their 2010 sales compared to their previous year’s sales. The most popular choice growers selected of the seven options they were presented was “flat.” One in five growers report their 2010 sales were flat compared to 2009.

More growers, however, report sales increases over 2009 (46 percent) than sales decreases (32 percent). In fact, an impressive 18 percent of growers report their overall sales increased more than 10 percent last year. Nearly 14 percent of growers had increases between 5 and 10 percent, and another 14 percent experienced a slight uptick in sales of less than 5 percent.

Last year was even better to growers’ suppliers. Despite a slowly recovering economy, the majority of suppliers indicate their sales were up in 2010 over the previous year. Forty percent, in fact, report sales increases of more than 10 percent.

That 40 percent figure, however, should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Considering the 2009 sales of suppliers, the sales for many had nowhere to go but up.

Still, 73 percent of all suppliers surveyed experienced at least small increases in sales. Thirteen percent of suppliers indicate their sales were flat, and only a few (13 percent) had worse 2010s than 2009s.

In addition to sales, we asked growers how their 2011 production volume will compare to last year’s. Most growers (47 percent) are being fairly bullish, planning to increase their production volume. Thirty-seven percent indicate their production volume will be about the same this year as it was in 2010, and the rest say they’re cutting back some. Only 2 percent say they’ll cut production back more than 10 percent.

Crops & Inputs

We also wanted to get a more precise idea which crops growers are optimistic and pessimistic about for 2011. Like last year, growers are most optimistic about herbs and vegetables. Ornamental bedding plants were also rated highly, and container perennials and flowering potted plants received some support.

Growers are most pessimistic, meanwhile, about trees, woody ornamentals and fresh cut flowers. Many expect the housing market to plague nursery producers again in 2011, and late-2010 announcements such as Carolina Nurseries closing and Monrovia being pressured by its bank to book $20 million in sales by Jan. 31, make more doubters than believers

Beyond crops, we asked growers about the inputs putting the biggest burdens on their businesses and which inputs they’ll be cutting back on most in 2011. Like most years, growers say energy is their most burdensome input. Pots and trays, followed by soil and amendments, chemicals and fertilizers, are the next-most burdensome inputs. Labels and tags and irrigation are the two areas the majority of growers seem to be handling all right.

To dig deeper on inputs, we asked growers which of the following inputs they will cut back on most in 2011. Energy was the most popular response, although only half of the growers who indicate energy is their biggest input burden say they will cut back. It’s an input growers absolutely can’t do without, after all, and before many begin cutting back and turning toward an alternative system, a substantial upfront investment must be made.

Behind energy, growers indicate chemicals and pots and trays are the areas in which they’ll be cutting back most.

What They’re All Saying

Part of our annual State Of The Industry survey was constructed with open-ended questions to generate more feedback and extract more specific information from growers and suppliers. For example, we asked growers about the biggest challenges the industry needs to address in order to collectively move growers into growth positions. Here’s what a few had to say:

• “Housing, housing, housing. Until we start building again, sales will struggle.” – Steve Larson, BASF

• “We need to find a product or product mix that appeals to the young consumer. They are our future big spenders. They are not looking to own their own homes like the (Baby) Boomers. This could lead to shrinking markets. – Kevin Wilson, Shademakers Nursery & Landscape

• “Growth in flowers will be difficult. What we experienced in 2010 will probably be the same in 2011. Growing food products in the fall and winter months may be an answer. Locally grown is more than a trend; it is a marketing concept that is going to grow in demand. We have to find ways to cash in on these new developments.” – Ron Eberly, American Clay Works & Supply Co.

• “Pricing is a major issue on all agricultural items, not just greenhouse crops. Everyone needs to stop lowering prices. Has there been any real gain in this area since the 1980s? We must all learn to market the products and entice more demand.” – Brian Kanotz, Callaway Gardens

• “Jobs need to recover but relevance for ornamental horticulture also needs to increase. Competition for discretionary dollars is growing.” – Kurt Parbst, Ludvig Svensson

• “Pricing that correlates to a quality product with excellent support and service behind every sale is a must.” – Scott Thompson, X.S. Smith

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “State Of The Industry: Survey Says!

  1. A decorative box may be opened by raising, pulling, sliding or removing the lid, which may be hinged and/or fastened by a catch, clasp, lock, or adhesive tape.
    A common storage box usually has the shape of a cuboid or right rectangular prism[citation needed], although boxes of almost any shape may be used.
    thank you for sharing most informative ideas Moving Supplies

  2. A decorative box may be opened by raising, pulling, sliding or removing the lid, which may be hinged and/or fastened by a catch, clasp, lock, or adhesive tape.
    A common storage box usually has the shape of a cuboid or right rectangular prism[citation needed], although boxes of almost any shape may be used.
    thank you for sharing most informative ideas Moving Supplies

More From State of the Industry...
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Webinar

February 27, 2017

State of the Industry Webinar Available for On-Demand Viewing

The half-hour presentation includes an analysis of Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry survey, along with insights from horticulture industry leaders.

Read More

February 11, 2017

Poinsettia Survey Reveals Growers Increased Poinsettia Sales and Production in 2016

On average, growers responding to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia Survey said the poinsettia season was “good,”Here’s a glance at the outlook for poinsettias in the marketplace.

Read More

January 25, 2017

59 New Members of Congress Need to Hear from You, SAF Says

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and growers coming to the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13-14 in Washington, DC, have a lot of explaining to do. There are 59 new congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill, and this freshmen class needs a lesson about floriculture.

Read More
Latest Stories
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Webinar

February 27, 2017

State of the Industry Webinar Available for On-Demand V…

The half-hour presentation includes an analysis of Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry survey, along with insights from horticulture industry leaders.

Read More

February 11, 2017

Poinsettia Survey Reveals Growers Increased Poinsettia …

On average, growers responding to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia Survey said the poinsettia season was “good,”Here’s a glance at the outlook for poinsettias in the marketplace.

Read More

January 25, 2017

59 New Members of Congress Need to Hear from You, SAF S…

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and growers coming to the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13-14 in Washington, DC, have a lot of explaining to do. There are 59 new congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill, and this freshmen class needs a lesson about floriculture.

Read More
bouldin-lawson-pro-sticking-line-at-north-creek-nurseries

January 25, 2017

State of the Industry 2017: Growers are Ready to Invest…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that grower investment in technology is imminent due to the cost and availability of labor, to improve efficiency, expand their growing operations, and allow employees to concentrate on higher value jobs that are less labor-intensive.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Ind…

Owners and upper management of growing operations in the horticulture industry, not unlike others in agriculture, are aging, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

January 24, 2017

Growers Becoming More Sustainable but Most Think Climat…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that growers are adopting biocontrols and organic production, yet 58% of growers said they don't believe humans can control climate change.

Read More

January 24, 2017

State of the Industry Survey Says 2017 Will be a Year o…

Growers, suppliers, and researchers who took Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State Of The Industry Survey say they are ready to drive change and profitability in horticultural businesses.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
Bees on flowers

October 11, 2016

Bees Endangered? Here’s The Rest Of The Story

Recently, mainstream media reported that certain bee species have been placed on the endangered species list, but the situation isn’t as dire as one might think.

Read More
cuttings-facility

September 27, 2016

How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working T…

The world’s top vegetative producers discuss how they continue to evolve to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities to help growers and the varieties supply chain.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According…

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

Read More
Joe Bischoff

July 26, 2016

SAF Partners With Cornerstone Government Affairs To Adv…

A new partnership between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Cornerstone Government Affairs ensures that SAF will continue its highly effective work advocating for issues that affect the floriculture industry. “SAF and Cornerstone together provide experienced voices on Capitol Hill to protect our growers’ interests,” says SAF CEO Peter Moran. “We’ll continue to move major policy priorities forward on behalf of small business and agriculture.” Cornerstone is a public affairs firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting, and advocacy. Its team of more than 50 senior professionals includes former senior professional staff from both authorization and appropriations committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as veterans of the horticulture industry. Agricultural and horticultural issues of primary concern to SAF members include access to labor, immigration, crop protection, international trade and other matters related to the day-to-day operations of growers. Before she retired this year, SAF lobbyist Lin […]

Read More

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More

July 19, 2016

Do You Grow Young Plants? Only 4 Days Left To Take Our …

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at [email protected], or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 25, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More
State of the industry 2016

February 23, 2016

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry…

A year of growth in 2015 also had its share of challenges, and as a result, growers and suppliers were a bit more guarded going into 2016. After a few years of extreme weather and drought, a massive ongoing labor shortage, a shaky economy, and increased government regulation, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows growers and retailers are moving forward with cautious optimism. Despite their many concerns, growers are ready to tackle another spring season in 2016, and many have reported that investments they have made within the past year are helping to drive their operations into the future. Further, rising consumer confidence indicates good things for 2016, growers said. Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons of 2015 sales to past years, details on how 2016 production volume and prices will compare to 2015, crops that […]

Read More