Demand for home and garden pesticides in the US is forecast to increase an average of 2.6% per year to $2.7 billion in 2024, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis. Rising interest in home gardening – particularly of vegetables – will boost sales in spite of a weak consumer spending environment as the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic linger. Concern about insect-borne diseases will also support ongoing sales growth for products used in households.
Short-term sales will be boosted by booming gardening activity amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while health and environmental concerns will remain key factors affecting product mix going forward.
Pandemic Gardening Boom Boosted 2020 Home & Garden Pesticide Sales
Surging gardening activity during the Covid-19 pandemic boosted 2020 demand for garden herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides:
- During the initial phases of lockdown, gardening activity boomed nationwide, but as many garden supply retailers reported record sales, they also found themselves sold out of products like seeds.
- Home and garden pesticide suppliers like Scotts Miracle-Gro reported healthy year-over-year growth in their consumer segments for the second and third quarters of 2020. Strong sales were also reported by many industry participants through the summer and fall.
Increased gardening activity was largely driven by people finding themselves at home with more free time, with 26% of adult respondents to the August 2020 edition of The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey reporting that they started a food garden because of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, many consumers witnessed supply chain issues over this period, and home growing of food provided a sense of comfort and security. As a result, growth was particularly strong for vegetable gardening.
Although it is expected that some new gardeners will not return to the hobby in 2021, gardening will likely remain above pre-pandemic levels through 2024 as elevated interest in home food production persists and the uptick in remote working is likely to last to some extent.
Health & Environmental Concerns Driving Changing Product Mix
Home and garden pesticide producers face persistent challenges – both regulatory and in public perception – due to the inherently hazardous nature of their products. Most notably, glyphosate-based herbicides have been the subject of well-publicized lawsuits that resulted in Bayer agreeing to pay over $10 billion in settlements in June 2020.
Producers such as Scotts Miracle-Gro have attempted to expand their range of non-glyphosate herbicides, offering products that use ingredients like ammonium nonanoate, which is certified for use around organic gardens. However, the effectiveness of glyphosate makes it hard to replace while still satisfying customer expectations about product performance.
Several other pesticide active ingredients hold potential to disrupt the market. For instance:
- Nootkatone was registered for use in insect controls and insect repellents in August 2020, and products using this material may be available by 2022. Nootkatone is a natural material found in grapefruit. It is considered to be organic and nontoxic to humans, and thus addresses important consumer concerns in the industry.
- In October 2019, the EPA proposed that alphachloralose be registered for use in rodenticides. Alphachloralose is already widely used for this purpose in the EU and is considered to be relatively nonhazardous to children and non-target animals. If approved, alphachloralose would be the first new rodenticide active ingredient registered in the US in over 20 years.
Non-DEET Insect Repellents Gaining Market Share in Insecticide Segment
Use of insect controls and insect repellents will continue to be supported by concern about insect-borne diseases, which will help to sustain an ongoing level of insecticide demand:
- The US is home to a variety of endemic but rare insect diseases, and periodic outbreaks of dangerous viruses tend to be highly publicized.
- Globalization and climate change also contribute to viruses from overseas occasionally gaining a foothold in the US.
- In recent years, the insect-borne diseases generating the most concern include West Nile virus, Lyme disease, Eastern equine encephalitis, and Jamestown Canyon virus.
Demand for home and garden insecticides is forecast to grow 2.5% annually through 2024.
While DEET remains the most widely used active ingredient in insect repellents, DEET alternatives are rapidly gaining market share. In particular, oil of lemon eucalyptus products have performed well in recent years and are expected to continue posting fast growth. The strong health and environmental profile of oil of lemon eucalyptus repellents makes them popular for children and for backyard use.
Picaridin-based products have also become increasingly common since first becoming available in 2005. These products are popular by being odorless and effective, although they tend to carry a price premium over DEET products and are less attractive than oil of lemon eucalyptus to environmentally minded customers.
Want to Learn More?
Home & Garden Pesticides, Home & Garden Insecticides, and Household Pesticides are now available from the Freedonia Group.
About the Author:
Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on an array of industries.