Growth Trend for Purchases from Independent Florists
There are not enough statistics in the public domain to reliably determine how the number or percentage of consumers purchasing flowers from local florists has changed in the past three years. While there are a few surveys suggesting that most consumers purchased flowers from independent florists in years 2016 and 2017, there are several other sources that contradict this information. The fact that numerous local florists have closed shop in recent years after losing business to online vendors and mass merchandisers suggests that the number or percentage of consumers buying flowers from neighborhood floral shops has decreased.
- Forbes published an article reporting that the number of retail florists in the country had dropped from 19,822 in 2007 to 14,606 in 2012. These figures suggest that the number of consumers buying flowers from retail florists has dropped as well. According to Farbod Shoraka, one of the founders of BloomNation, a startup aiming to help independent florists with its online tools, online companies "are taking half the money from florists and not caring about the customer experience at all."
- Voices of Monterey Bay published an article reporting that mass merchandisers such as supermarkets and big box stores, and online vendors such as FTD and Teleflora, had been taking business away from independent florists. This information suggests that, in 2018, there were fewer consumers who bought flowers from independent florists.
- The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment polled 43,145 adults making floral purchases and interviewed 14,692 adults making floral purchases. The results of this survey, which were published in the Floral Purchase Tracking Study, show that in 2017, consumers purchased flowers mostly from local florists and supermarkets/grocery stores.
- Male consumers purchased flowers from the following retailers/locations: local florist (43%), supermarket/grocery store (21%), online floral service (8%), home improvement store (5%), nursery/garden center (5%), farmer's market (5%), discount or chain store (4%), sidewalk or street flower vendor (4%), wedding planner (3%), non-profit organization (2%), and others (2%).
- Female consumers purchased flowers from the following retailers/locations: local florist (29%), supermarket/grocery store (41%), online floral service (6%), home improvement store (4%), nursery/garden center (5%), farmer's market (4%), discount or chain store (5%), sidewalk or street flower vendor (2%), wedding planner (1%), non-profit organization (1%), and others (2%).
- Younger consumers aged 18-34 and 35-54 were more likely to purchase flowers from local florists than older consumers aged 55+. Older consumers aged 55+ were more likely to purchase flowers from supermarkets/grocery stores than younger consumers aged 18-34 and 35-54. Forty-two percent of consumers aged 18-34 purchased flowers from local florists, while 47% of consumers aged 55+ purchased flowers from supermarkets/grocery stores.
- The full version of the Floral Purchase Tracking Study is paywalled unfortunately.
- The New Leaf co-owner Sarah Mumford said that "younger customers tend to favor digital services" as far as floral purchases are concerned. This contradicts the finding in the Floral Purchase Tracking Study that younger consumers preferred buying from the local florist.
- Garden Center Magazine published an article reporting that almost 40% of flower businesses in the United States had closed shop since 2000. National wire services with steep marketing fees and commissions reportedly had pushed independent florists into oblivion. This information suggests that fewer consumers were buying flowers from independent florists.
- Delaware Business Times published an article reporting that since 1992, the number of neighborhood flower shops in the United States had declined from 27,341 to 14,161. This information suggests that consumers buying from these neighborhood flower shops had dropped as well. Chuck Cinaglia, who owns Boyd's Flowers in Wilmington, said "it's the online guys who have six-and-seven-figure advertising budgets, they're the ones that are siphoning off the business from the small brick-and-mortar flower shops."
- Delaware Business Times's article reported that most flower purchases still happen in a physical store, but this store, in most cases, is a retailer other than a traditional flower shop. It also reported that of fresh flower sales in the country, 48% were accounted for by grocery stores, and 35% were accounted for by traditional flower shops.
- The American Floral Endowment and the Floral Marketing Research Fund polled 3,011 millennial consumers. The results of this survey, which were published in Marketing Tactics to Increase Millennial Floral Purchases, show that millennial consumers purchased flowers from local florists (69%), grocery stores/mass merchandisers (63%), farmer's markets (57%), nurseries/garden centers (50%), local florist websites (35%), online national flower retailers such as FTD and 1-800-Flowers (34%), street flower vendors (30%), online LivingSocial or Groupon deals (17%), convenience stores/gas stations (14%), and toll-free telephone services (2%).
- Nielsen polled consumers making floral purchases and found that of these consumers, 24% bought flowers from grocery stores, 9% bought flowers from mass merchandisers, 7% bought flowers from convenience stores or gas stations, and 5% bought flowers from club stores. These numbers are very different from the figures reported for millennial consumers.
In our attempt to determine growth trends in the number of consumers purchasing flowers from local florists, we employed three strategies. First, we checked if the information is readily available in the public domain. Since growth in the past three years is of interest, we read through relevant articles and reports that were published no more than three years ago. Only a few sources cover the floral industry in the United States. Industry reports published by First Research and IBISWorld, articles published by Delaware Business Times, Voices of Monterey Bay, Garden Center Magazine, Forbes, and Inside Business, and surveys published by Nielsen, American Floral Endowment, and the Society of American Florists were the sources we found and consulted. The surveys published by the American Floral Endowment and the Society of American Florists show that consumers in 2016 and 2017 purchased flowers mostly from local florists, but the rest of the sources contradict this finding.
Second, we focused on the survey results provided by Nielsen, American Floral Endowment, and the Society of American Florist, and checked if the growth rate can be triangulated. We quickly found, however, that the desired percentages could not be triangulated, as there is simply not enough data in the public domain to do this. The available statistics are not comparable as well. For example, the 2016 percentage distribution provided in American Floral Endowment's report was specific to millennials only, while the 2017 percentage distribution provided in the Society of American Florists's report was specific to male consumers and female consumers. The percentage distribution provided in Nielsen's report is also incomplete.
Third, we turned our attention to how the sales or number of local florists has grown. We figured that changes in the sales or number of local florists in the country could be indicative of changes in the number of consumers purchasing flowers from local florists. There are several articles indicating that the number of independent florists has long been on a downward trend, and more and more independent florists are losing business to online vendors and mass merchandisers. Among these articles were articles published by Delaware Business Times, Voices of Monterey Bay, Garden Center Magazine, Forbes, and Inside Business. This decline in the number of independent florists suggests that more and more consumers are turning to online vendors and mass merchandisers for their floral purchases. The rise of BloomNation, a startup helping independent florists to stay in business, supports this observation.