It’s taken many years, but organic control sales are now on par with traditional controls for U.S. garden retailers, an analysis of a few years of surveying garden retailers shows. And retailers consistently report that organic controls have a higher increase in sales each year than its counterpart.
The data was pulled from several years of our retail State of the Industry surveys, and the number of retailers responding each year ranged from 216 (in 2014) to 440 (in 2013) garden retailers.
The national picture shows that a similar number of retailers are stocking traditional and organic pesticides. We find 78.3% of retailers are stocking traditional controls, which is just a whisper higher than the 77.93% that carry organics.
But once you look at how the products are performing, you begin to see some differences.
Take a look at the two charts below. The first, which tracks traditional pest control sales performance since 2013, reveals that flat sales were the most common response. In contrast, the most common trend retailers reported for organic pest control sales was an increase in sales.
The difference between the two category in decreased sales is also worth noting. Organic controls were much less likely to be reported as having a decrease in sale compared to traditional. In some cases, decreased-sales reports were a third of decreases of traditional controls.
Anyone who has followed the growth of organic products for the garden knows that the products popularity were established early in some regions, while others were slow to adopt them.
Take a look at the Midwest sales of organics. You can quickly see that their is a higher percent of retailers not carrying the products, and that Midwest retailers are more likely to report flat sales.
The Northeast, one of the early adopters of organic products, reports a much different experience than the Midwest’s. Those reporting increased sales are almost 10 percentage points above the Midwest. And other than an anomaly in 2014, those reporting decreased sales are minimal.
How Each Contributes To Overall Sales For Retailers
While organic products have momentum on their side, traditional pesticides still perform better in contributing to the bottom line, although it’s admittedly by a small amount.
In 2014, traditional pest control sales made up 2.55% of total sales, which was up slightly compared to 2013, when retailers reported the category made up 2.21% of sales.
Compare that to organic controls. In 2014, organic controls sales made up 2.25% of total sales, which was up compared to 2013, when retailers reported the category made up 1.96% of sales.
In 2015, we swapped out the percent of sales question with two write-in questions, one asking retailers to tell us which single category saw the biggest increase in sales, and the second asking which category had the largest decrease. Organics had several write ins, while a single retailer reported that their gnat control pesticide was its biggest seller. Conversely, there were no write ins for organics, while traditional pesticides was one of the highest categories for decreased sales.