The latest issue of Floral Management magazine features some great news for real florists. On pages 34 and 35, in an article entitled "Love Rebounds for Retail Florists", author Ira Silvergleit compiles and presents the results of the SAF's latest consumer poll and it is very positive.
The good news is that more customers are choosing traditional florists. Thirty-eight percent of American adults purchased flower or plant gifts from a retail florist, compared to 28 percent in 2012.Ira Silvergleit, Floral Management April 2013
This is up 10% from the 28% statistic reported last year and represents an increase of 36%. It's a big jump and is also a full 7% over 2007, the next highest year included in the survey (which covers 2007-2013). It also gave real retail florists a solid lock on second place - selling more flowers and plants than any other outlet except for supermarket/grocery.
But the good news doesn't end there.
The median (middle) amount spent on flowers and plants jumped from $27.40 in 2012 to $35 this year.Ira Silvergleit, Floral Management April 2013
It's not just more people, it's more people spending more money. And, again, the increase is significant - we're talking about a jump of almost 28%. Put it all together and we're talking about 36% more customers shopping with real local florists, each spending 28% more than they did last year.
Seven out of ten florists reported sales gains from a year ago compared to 10 percent reporting declines and 18 reporting flat sales.Ira Silvergleit, Floral Management April 2013
This is good by any standard but even better when you consider that 84% of shops reported increases in 2011 and 79% reported further increases in 2012 - that means most stores are reporting improvements even on those compound gains.
Sales through the largest channel - grocery stores/supermarkets - were lower than last year and it can be assumed that many of those customers must have "moved up" to real florists. This seems like a good thing - as people started to feel okay about spending more money on flowers they chose to spend that money with real florists. Hopefully that means they appreciate the better quality and service real florists provide.
As for the other channels... mass merchandisers and street vendors were almost flat. National internet floral services and national toll-free floral services (counted as two different channels in this survey, but most florists would lump them together under the "order-gatherer" label) were up slightly - about 2% each. But, even if you total their share you still get growth of only 4% and a combined market share of about 18% - far less than the growth or market share enjoyed by brick & mortar florists this year. It seems like the good guys made most of the gains this year.
Sadly next year probably won't be quite as good. In 2014 Valentine's Day falls on the Friday of a holiday weekend and this usually hurts flower sales - many believe that customers choose to spend their Valentine's Day budgets on a date instead of flowers. It's unfortunate but great to see a positive trend overall and, if it continues, should help offset the Friday/Saturday/Sunday decline florists will see over the coming years.
If you are an SAF member and/or receive Floral Management please be sure to check out the article. If not we hope you will think about joining SAF and/or subscribing to their magazine - an excellent source of valuable information like this.
The chart above shows where American adults bought their Valentine's Day gifts in 2013 using the categories in the SAF poll. As you can see traditional retail florists have a solid lock on second place, coming after only the Grocery Stores and Supermarkets category.
In this chart we combine the "National Internet Floral Service" and "National Toll-Free Floral Service" categories into one "National Order-Gatherer" category (the way most florists view this type of vendor). Florists still hold firmly on to second place.
Here we see sales by category for the past seven years. Florists don't have the biggest piece of the market but it's the fastest growing - hopefully a sign of more good things to come.
By the way - the line chart above (and the bar chart below) are interactive. You can click on the names in the legend to hide/show a category and isolate the data that interests you.
Here is the same data in a slightly different format. Again it shows the good guys - real local florists - making the greatest gains.