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PMA's Becky Roberts, Chrysanthemum Week webinar:

"Today's consumers are more conscious about what they are spending"

Floral is bouncing back, but consumers spending behaviours are changing. In yesterday's first 'Chrysanthemum week Webinar', Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) Director of Floral, Becky Roberts presented these changing spending behaviours as well as the positive floral sales trend in the USA and together with a US Supermarkets Regional Panel, she reflected on the last months, the challenges they've encountered and discusses the trends they see developing.  

Becky Roberts presenting at Chrysanthemum Week 2019.

Chrysanthemum Week: 1500 visitors expected
It's Chrysanthemum week in Colombia. Usually, the event is being held in-person but this year, it has been decided to do it virtual. And according to Augusto Solano, President of Asocolflores, it has an advantage as many people from all parts of the world can join. They expect to welcome 1,500 people. With Asocolflores’s support, nine flower breeding companies operating in Antioquia, Colombia will demonstrate as much varieties as possible during this week, that will run till August 28.

Mindful, local, and environment
Consumer spending behaviour is changing, Roberts explains. The first change she mentions is mindful spending. "Today's consumers are more conscious about what they are spending. They might be spending less, but they still expect a quality product. So also for the flowers, it is important that we need to be sure that we put on the market the correct product at a correct price point."  

The other change they notice is the change towards shopping local. "We are seeing that 17% of the US shoppers are buying more local and out of these 17%, 69% will continue to support local, even when coming out of the pandemic."

Finally, there is a change noticeable in the support of the environment; from the circular environment to the disposable environment. "Pre COVID-19, we saw more people taking care of the planet and recycle. During the pandemic, we have seen this trend decreasing and an increase in disposal and single use items. However, according to Euromonitor, expectations are that people go back to their more environmentally friendly behaviour post COVID-19." 

Floral is bouncing back
PMA is doing research on how COVID-19 is impacting the floral sales in the USA as well as research to the consumer sentiment. "When looking at the data gathered across supermarkets across the US, we see that it has been a bumpy ride in March and April, heading into Easter and Mother's Day. Fortunately, it has bounced back and sales are positive and have been stable in July and August, 

From the panel
Yesterday's panel consisted of 4 retailers namely: Steve O'Malley, Floral Group Manager at Wegmans Food and Supermarkets, inc.; Erin Esensee of Business, Unit Director at H-E-B BLOOMS; Valerie Johnson of Buyer at Stop & Shop; and Russell Beazley, Vice President at Florist Distributing, Inc. Together with them, Roberts reflected on the last months and is looking towards the expectations for the trends in the future.

Keeping up the shop full was for many the main challenge during the COVID-19 peak. They all see an increase in demand for flowers and plants. Greens and tropicals as well as seasonal items are doing very well. Bouquets seem to have been in good demand for many as well as it is considered to be a good gift item in these challenging times. Also the retailers that supply garden plants have seen the demand increasing. They see the younger customers coming in as parents are at home and engaging their kids in growing products. All in all, the working from home environment is, what they believe, lifting the sales. And when looking at the future, they expect the floral consumption to remain up. The summer sales give confidence in going into fall. Many hope and think that over the last months, a habit of buying floral has been created and hope that the demand for flowers and plants will remain high. But of course, the consumers financial situation needs to allow them to continue buying flower as the pandemic is affecting the labor market. 

Today's final webinar
The Chrysanthemum Week will run till August 28, but the final webinar will be held today. The topic is: “COVID-19 Impact on Consumers and Market trends in US market". During this webinar, again with Becky Roberts as Moderator, another panel will share their experience, namely: Debbie Zoellick of Walmart, Debora Steier of Albertsons, Jennifer Lien of Kroger, Courtney Young of Sprouts, and Kate Kennedy of Wholefoods. Click here to register. 

For more information
Chrysanthemum Week

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