Garden retailers much reach out to younger customers and embrace new technology to make the most of future sales opportunities, the HTA has said.
Under-45s spend more than £1bn annually on their gardens, and it is important to identify what will interest them, according to the organisation.
Number one is the use of the garden as an outdoor room for socialising, with outdoor dining particularly high on the list. Younger consumers are also keen on grow your own, and want a fun space that the family can enjoy.
They are looking for instore information that gives them inspiration and simple solutions, says the HTA, including 'get the look' displays and ideas for colourful planting.
Technology is also becoming more important, according to research company Future Foundation. The firm says almost two-thirds of 55-64-year-olds will be using mobile devices at least once a week to access the internet by 2016. Future Foundation's Pippa Greenwood told delegates at the recent HTA Garden Futures Conference that more and more customers are using their mobiles to compare prices.
"Consumers have a new relationship with price," she said. "They admit that they spend more time and energy in hunting around for a bargain. They admit that they pick a retailer, compare prices online and even print vouchers and codes. They use multiple strategies - they really relish it - it's a game. 78% of consumers are comparing or reading prices online. We all wish the landscape was different but retailers need to meet shoppers halfway - making them feel like they're getting a deal."
Garden centre sales were up 6% year-on-year in August, according to the latest HTA Garden Retail Monitor data. Sales were up 7% on the month before, following a disappointing June (down 12%) and July (up 2%).