SAF's Generations of Flowers Study 2016

SAF has released intriguing new consumer research about the flower buying habits and trends for Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials. There is good news for florists.

SAF's Generations of Flowers Study 2016

In the current issue of Floral Management, SAF has intriguing new consumer research about the flower buying habits and trends for Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials. The 2016 Generations of Flowers Study was conducted by Russell Research in East Rutherford NJ, and is an update to the original 2009 Generations of Flowers study also commissioned by SAF. 

The study focuses on “consumer perceptions, motivations and barriers to buying flowers among three generations: Generation Y, also known as Millennials; Generation X; and Baby Boomers.” 

And the good news for florists is that the data show improvement over the 2009 study. 

The article is worth your time and attention because there is a lot of truly interesting information  but here are a few highlights: 


1) Appreciation

Overall appreciation of flowers increased, with 73% of consumers now having a high appreciation of flowers vs 66% in 2009. This uptick is driven by an increase in appreciation by Millennials - 76% now vs 60% in 2009. Gen X appreciation was up as well - 73% today vs 64% in 2009 -while Baby Boomers stayed consistent at 72%. 

Flowers continue to be viewed as a special gift to both give and receive. 77% of women remember the last time they received flowers as a gift and 60% of all respondents said they believe that flowers have a special meaning unlike any other gift. 

While gifting continues to be the number reason people purchase flowers across the generations, buying them “just because” remains the second most common reason - 42% in 2106, down from 49% in 2009. 


What it Means for Florists

SAF Chairman Shirley Lyons reminds florists to put these findings to work and highlight the “feel good” power of flowers in your marketing efforts and on social media. Share stories, photos, or testimonials highlighting how your flowers made the recipient and/or the giver feel special. 


2) Where are Flowers Being Purchased?

Local florists are still the top choice for buying flowers as a gift for 82% of consumers (and two- thirds of those do their shopping in person). The study found a decrease for flower gifts being purchased at supermarkets, down from 68% in 2009 to 58% in 2016. 

Online outlets (including national floral services and local florist websites) have seen an increase in popularity since 2009, along with Farmer’s Markets.  


What it Means for Florists

While the decrease in purchasing at supermarkets is significant, SAF Treasurer Chris Drummond reminds us that many supermarkets are changing their products and services to remain competitive. 

Convincing people to shop with you means you need to be very clear about why gifts from your store are special. Highlight your unique products and designs, and go the extra mile on service. Remind your customers about your expert staff. 

To appeal across the three generations, and to compete with supermarkets and farmer’s markets, consider adding a ‘grab and go’ section. 


3) Generational Attitudes - Common themes or Differences? 

Flower quality and freshness, getting what you expect and getting good value for money are the top three most important attributes for all three groups when considering a florist. 

 As Millennials age, their attitudes towards florists and buying flowers is changing (as seen in the jump in appreciation cited earlier). Some things this generation finds important: making flowers accessible 24/7 (55%) because they are more likely to purchase flower online (34 % vs 25 % Gen X and 24% Baby Boomers) and being able to purchase unusual, exotic or hard-to-find flowers (61%). 

Gen X is more likely to consider a florist (67% vs 61% for Millennials, 56% for Boomers) and places a higher value on delivery. They also believe the colour of the flowers is important when gifting. 

Baby Boomers are seen as a “reliable” generation for florists and while this generation is most likely to purchase flowers for birthdays (55%) and funerals (30%), they worry that flowers don’t last too long and are expensive, so quality of product offered must be high. 


What it Means for Florists

For Millennials, focus on “impulse and accessibility” - this means an organized, updated and mobile-friendly website and providing ideas and information via social media. 

The key for Gen X is making their busy lives easier - show them how you can save them time via extended shop hours and a good website; offering gift reminders, ready-made bouquets and plants; and knowing the delivery options for local hospitals and funeral homes.

And for Baby Boomers, emphasize the quality, care and value of your design. Find ways to incorporate special flowers into their gifts to increase the emotional impact. 


4) Other Quick Hits 

Other interesting finds from the study are: 

  • Supporting local businesses is important for 60% of consumers across all age segments
  • Nearly half of the respondents plant to purchase houseplants in the next six months (up from 37% in 2009), with the numbers for Millennials and Gen X being slightly higher than Boomers. 
  • Referrals are important - 46% of consumers want to hear about the experiences their friends and family have had purchasing or receiving flowers. 



Be sure to check out the May issue of Floral Management to see the full details of the study and SAF’s tips for how to make the findings help you grow your business.