by Renato Cruz Sogueco, AAF, PFCI  BloomNet Vice President of Digital Strategy  and Education

NEWLY RELEASED RESEARCH REPORT HIGHLIGHTS DATA AND TRENDS

As the year comes to an end, it’s good to reflect back and examine floral industry trends of the past year. A good source for this information reliably comes from Sundale Research, a firm that recently published its “State of the Industry: Florists in the U.S.” report. We summarize the report’s findings and focus on opportunities it highlights.

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

There were 12,951 retail florists in the U.S. in 2018, and this was estimated to drop this year to 12,863. As all of us are aware, retail florist numbers have been steadily dwindling the past two decades, but Sundale predicts this will finally stabilize in a couple of years.

2018 saw a growth in retail florist sales by 1.3 percent to a tune of $7.64 billion total. Arranged cut flowers still accounted for 60 percent of sales and that number is expected to grow by an average of 1.9 percent per year to 2023. Unarranged flowers sales were next, followed by plants.

Valentine’s Day was the top-selling holiday for florists in 2018 with roses accounting for 65 percent of sales. Mixed flowers, single non-rose flower arrangements and plants rounded out popular gifts for the holiday. Mother’s Day was the expected second-best floral holiday with popular gifts including fresh flowers, flowering houseplants, outdoor bedding and garden plants and green house plants.

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS

Demographics continue to provide an ongoing opportunity for florists with selling strategies needing to focus on two generations – Baby Boomers and Millennials. Although you may consider Generation X to be included in your marketing efforts, Sundale does not prioritize this generation due to its lower population, estimated to be at 44 million.

 Sundale reports the more than 79 million Boomers will continue to be reliable flower buyers for the next several years but consider in the longer term, this group will be a declining population that will retire or start passing away.

Millennials, on the contrary, represent an already sizable population – at 83.5 million – that will continue to grow in income and represent a reliable purchasing population well into the future. Sundale describes this group as “having less brand loyalty” and “looking to take part in the development of new products and services through social media interaction.”

MINING MILLENNIALS

Because of their reliance on the internet, Millennials are more educated about products and pricing and are willing to engage and do business with companies active in social causes and sustainable business practices. They also are looking for ways to incorporate nature and living things into their living spaces which are trending towards smaller homes or urban apartments with limited outdoor spaces. Sundale identifies terrarium bars and plants as solid gift categories among Millennials (see pg. 8 of this issue of floriology for terrarium ideas).

The Sundale report also confirms the continued opportunity in creating buying “experiences.” Flower arranging classes at local florists are now the norm, so it’ll be up to florists to create more unique hands-on activities and events that also facilitate the trend toward more customized and personalized products. Sundale adds that not only could these events drive additional revenue, but they could also help build store loyalty as they provide customers a memorable retail-based experience, which they can post on social media.

Sundale emphasizes social media will be a critical marketing strategy for florists in order to leverage reported trends. They identify Pinterest and Instagram as ideal outlets to showcase detailed visuals of new products, announce those special shop events and engage customers. They add that social media is ideal to build long-term loyalty by providing more educational content such as tips for flower arrangements and proper care. This will make price less of a barrier to purchase from retail florists for this price-conscious population.

You can purchase the full research report from Sundale at sundaleresearch.com. Floriology will be publishing more in-depth analysis of these trends and more at FloriologyInstitute.com.