When it doubt blame Generation X and Y

This is interesting yet not un-expected. Langeveld Bulb Co has filed for bankruptcy protection. Check out this quote, “many insiders are speculating that the closing is mostly the result of declining sales of bulbs, which are less popular with younger consumers, who want instant results in the garden.”

Yep, it’s those dang generation X and Y folks that are to blame. It appears that these two generational demographics are almost entirely responsible for the decline in our industry. It’s becoming fashionable for closing businesses to blame the younger generation. After all the older generations still support the garden industry, NOT!

I have noticed a decline in interest in bulbs for a number of years and it’s not just the younger generation. It’s also “Baby Boomers” who have other things to do with their time. It also explains the decline in bare root sales that I have been noticing over the years. Both bulbs and bare root are available in the winter when lots of folks just don’t get out in the garden anymore. Hey, if they want bulbs or fruit trees they figure we should have them in spring when they are doing their shopping.

I think the industry is so caught up in trying to appeal to Gen X and Y they are missing the big picture. Generation X and Y want to garden just as much or little as the other generations. They are the up and coming home owners who with a patch of ground want to see what they can grow on it. Most of the boomer generation is just as fickle with its gardening and would just as soon be skiing or traveling to warmer climates.

I think we need to quit trying to appeal to particular generations. Try instead appealing to people who are interested in gardening regardless of age. What with Urban Outfitters entering the gardening market we are all standing around just waiting to see the magic that they posses with these younger generations. It’s like we have to completely rethink gardening to appeal to these people. I like what the comments at the end of this post said. Don said this, “I read a lot of analysis about what “Gen X” and “Gen Y” wants, and I find a lot of it pretty patronizing.” I think a lot of generation X and Y think it’s a bit patronizing.

When all is said and done I think the decline in bulb sales is a result of all generations having a lot more that they can do with their time. It’s the big companies that have the most to loose since so much of their sales depend on a larger percentage of each generation buying their products. Let Home Depot, Hines Nurseries, and Scotts’ worry about this stuff. They pay people to worry. The smaller nursery can fine tune its message to gardeners of all ages. I only need 10% of each generation to find gardening interesting and jump in. Yes, it’s good to be small.