Autumn 2020 will be the new spring for lawncare categories, says Johnsons Lawn Seed

Garden retailers are set to benefit from one of the most lucrative autumns that the lawncare category has ever experienced – with significant opportunities to drive footfall and growth, according to Johnsons Lawn Seed.


The UK’s oldest grass seed supplier says three novel influences are set to combine, resulting in heightened potential to maximise revenue from lawncare departments: a new generation of younger consumers who discovered gardening for the first time during the spring lockdown; gardeners looking to sow and feed lawns who were unable to obtain product while garden centres remained closed in spring, and shoppers who found that their lawns were damaged by the early season drought and are seeking to repair turf before winter.


Here, Johnson’s Lawn Seed’s Consumer Manager, Guy Jenkins, looks at how Johnsons Lawn Seed is rising to the challenge of catering for a rapidly changing lawncare sector:


How could lockdown influence the lawncare category?

“Lockdown saw more people than ever before begin to engage with gardening and, despite the unprecedented Covid-19 turbulence that has shaken garden retail this season, the industry now stands in a prime position to capture a new generation of consumers. A recent survey by LV General Insurance found that people aged between 25 and 39 spent nearly twice as much money on their gardens during lockdown, compared to other ages. The study found that millennials – a group that is poised to unleash considerable spending power – spent £213 on their outdoor spaces since mid-March, compared to an average of £125 for other UK age groups. Significantly, the report claimed that 74% of people said they had changed the way they used their garden during lockdown, pointing to an increase in outdoor space for relaxation and entertaining. Lawns are the focal point of outdoor living and consumers now demand superior, natural products that are child and pet safe.”


How does Johnsons Lawn Seed plan to grow its market share?

“Education, quality product that builds brand loyalty through performance, and value for money hold the key. Johnsons Lawn Seed is celebrating its 200th anniversary during 2020, but this is more than simply celebrating the company’s heritage. It has been well documented that gardening skills are no longer being passed down through generations, with many new consumers lacking horticultural knowledge and confidence, while being unfamiliar with top performing products. To address this issue, Johnsons Lawn Seed has widened the scope of its communications, targetting home and regional media, in addition to core gardening writers and broadcasters – while engaging with key influencers, bloggers, vloggers and social channels – to spread awareness of the company’s market-leading product portfolio to an emerging generation of first-time gardeners and home-owners.”


How important is new product development?

“Innovation holds the key to growth and a strategy of developing unique products that meet the needs of modern consumers has placed Johnsons Lawn Seed in a prime position. DLF Seeds, our parent company, invests €14million into research and development every year – that programme of research has enabled us to bring to market eco-friendly lawncare products that have been engineered to perform in the most demanding conditions; a new generation of products that are tailor made for a warming and unpredictable climate.”


What has R&D successfully brought to market?

“Take Tuffgrass with Dog Patch Resistance, for example – it’s the culmination of 672 tests on 168 varieties of grass across seven species. The result is the UK’s first grass seed mix that’s scientifically proven to resist lawn damage caused by dog urine, resulting in a product with extensive appeal to gardeners and pet-owners alike. Quick Lawn’s new Accelerator seed treatment technology results in rapid germination and fast lawn establishment, while requiring just a third of the amount of water that’s usually needed – meeting the needs of consumers who demand instant results and lawns that will cope with climate change. We’ve seen a shift towards natural and organic products, with Super Smart Lawn Feed – a 100% organic, 3-in1 feed that feeds lawns, greens grass and boosts root development – catering for family-orientated gardeners who are no longer prepared to use chemicals on grass.”


How is Johnsons Lawn Seed helping retailers?

“Product flies off the shelves when it instantly communicates clear benefits to consumers. Few shoppers know the difference between dwarf perennial ryegrass or creeping red fescue so, through bold design and messaging, the Johnsons portfolio clearly identifies the suitability of each product: Luxury Lawn, Shady Place, After Moss, General Purpose and Lawn Thickener, for example, all convey their suitability at the point of purchase without bombarding shoppers with science. DLF Seeds is now the UK distributor for Neudorff’s leading natural gardening care range, taking advantage of Johnsons’ extensive distribution network to supply an effective naturals range that chimes with Britain’s growing band of eco-conscious consumers, helping to expand sales throughout the gardening season. The Johnsons and Neudorff brands are ideally positioned to address the needs of new consumers who are keen to garden in tune with nature and protect the environment.”

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