NPD Group: spring into lawn and garden

The lion’s share of lawn and garden sales occur in the second quarter: 36 percent of barbecue grills; 38.2 percent of grass seed/repair; 38.5 percent of long-handle tools; and a full 43.3 percent of fertilizer/herbicide/pesticide, according to data from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group.

April, May and June will likely always remain the dominant season for these categories. But according to consumer data, there are some shifting sales trends afoot. Most notably, price appears to play more of a factor in consumer purchase decisions compared to last year.

Warehouse home centers lead all channels in dollar share sales of fertilizer and barbecue grills. The story is very similar in long-handle tools and grass seed, where the big boxes also dominate. However mass merchants are making in-roads as price becomes a more important factor in the consumer’s decision-making process.

In barbecue grills, the mass channel grew significantly to 26.1 percent market share. But more than that, the data shows that two-burner barbecues gained 7.6 percentage points of dollar market share in 2007, while three-burner barbecues declined significantly, and four or more burners declined slightly.

“That seems to indicate folks are scaling back a little bit from those really big grills that were almost a status symbol for homeowners in recent years,” said Mark Delaney, NPD Group’s director of home improvement. “It’s much more about price these days than it was a year ago.”

The relative importance of price showed year-over-year increases in its importance as a purchase motivator in all four breakdowns.