“We sold everything but the display fixtures!” and “Our sales manager said she sold the dirt off the floor!”. These are quotes just off some of the retailers that participated in the Produce Marketing Association’s virtual Floral Roundtable on May 13, 2020. In last Wednesday's session, they discussed Mother's Day floral sales of last week and all of the 7 retailers, from different areas in the US, that participated were pleasantly surprised with the floral sales. They were better than expected, with many saying they ran out of floral products by around noon Sunday, May 10, and others even selling out Saturday. Demand continued post-Mother's Day weekend and retailers are now making plans for the summer sales, of which they are optimistic.
Below a summary of what was discussed at the PMA Virtual Roundtable.
Sales less holiday-centric
True to predictions, retailers did experience different sales patterns than normal for Mother’s Day. Customers were buying all week, so sales were less holiday-centric or one-day centric. Friday-Saturday sales were very strong, moving into Sunday.
One online retailer said sales were also strong leading up to Mother’s Day week, with product running out by the Tuesday prior to Mother’s Day. The ecommerce platform is seeing more volume planning.
More higher-end products
Retailers reported the quality from growers was outstanding and several mentioned that their consumers purchased more higher-end products than usual, perhaps reflecting a desire to splurge on moms with floral. In general, floral, outdoor products, and balloons have all been selling well, the retailer reported, with outdoor making up for some loss in floral unit sales. Consumers are also purchasing balloons and floral for drive-by graduation and birthday celebrations.
New sales approaches
Retailers’ strategies for Mother's Day floral sales varied. Many reported trying new approaches and sales tactics included full-service and self-serve in stores, online sales, prepaid curbside pickup, and home delivery. Brick-and-mortar stores that used ecommerce said they limited SKUs for online purchases, anywhere from one product delivered through Instacart to a choice of six products.
Retailers who used curbside pickup reported using some of the same tactics as foodservice takeout. In one example customers prepaid, pulled up, called the store catering desk, and an associate delivered the floral purchases to the car at the curb. Another retailer that had less floral product focused on serving customers in store.
Demand continued post-Mother's Day
Interestingly, the demand has continued post-Mother’s Day weekend, and retailers are working on replenishing and making plans for summer sales. Restocking for the near-term does present challenges. Many are optimistic that post-Memorial Day sales will be better than in years past, with consumers looking to beautify homes and wanting to celebrate the little moments, not just special occasions.
Retailers expect discretionary spending to continue. Regarding product offerings, the need to meet consumers where they are is still important; however, one retailer said there’s an opportunity to funnel new products as shopping patterns reflect a pent-up demand for celebrating, connecting and buying floral “just because.” For the remainder of spring, outdoor plants and gardening products are expected to continue to do well. Retailers expect curbside pickup to continue to expand. Collaboration and communication across the supply chain will continue to be key.
From impulse to planned purchases
Consumer buying patterns are shifting from impulse to planned purchases. People are taking time to plan, browse, and buying further in advance. The shift reflects a consumer base that’s being thoughtful, considerate and has a desire to stay connected with friends and family.
Floral Department Overview from IRI
During the May 13 Floral Roundtable, IRI presented top-level U.S. floral sales data, including a 52-week, 13-week, and four-week snapshot. A full report will be available in the coming weeks. According to IRI, the industry is set up well at this juncture based on floral performance over the 52 weeks ending March 29, 2020. IRI expects floral spending to rebound from COVID-19.
According to IRI’s Market Advantage report, dollar sales for floral in the 52-week period is worth $5.2 billion-plus, which grew by +$154.5M partially due to distribution and dollar velocity. Potted plants followed by roses and arrangements are the key categories driving the overall dollar growth. Unit sales were 0.7 billion and declined by 10.5 million, which is attributed to increased prices. Except for outdoor plants, the other top-five categories have seen dollar growth in the latest 52-week period. A strong Valentine’s Day sales helped offset the March sales slide. Since COVID-19, sales of outdoor floral increased. That trend is expected to continue.
Next Virtual Town hall
Wednesday May 20th they will have retailers talk about the path forward for floral, they will present PMAs recent consumer sentiment and trend research and look at how Floral ecommerce will be important for all flower channels moving forward.
For more information
Produce Marketing Association (PMA)