AU: How the cut flower industry has evolved with the ongoing pandemic

Australian floristry, until COVID-19 entered the world, generated $1.6 billion in revenue annually. But because of the pandemic, the cut flower industry has been hit hard, not only due to the cancellation of big-ticket events but also because of disrupted supply. Flower Industry Australia, an association of flower growers in the country, estimates that the business is down by about 30%. The majority of the Australian flower industry thrived on imports, but with flight restrictions and raised freight charges, imports have shrunk to almost 50%.
 
However, on the consumer side of the business, demands were picking up. With people being locked up in their homes for prolonged periods, flowers became one of the few sources of solace they could seek in this stressful situation. So the demand for bouquets and cut flowers increased, as people wanted to make themselves and their loved ones feel good. Yet the flower industry has had to evolve in order to continue to provide while dealing with the challenges of COVID-19.

Going digital
Over the years, large flower businesses have slowly grown digitally savvy, expanding horizons across borders. Many small florists too, have now recognized the e-commerce opportunity. They have revamped their online presence to connect with their customers. WhatsApp today is a preferred medium to order and finalize designs of customized bouquets among merchants as well as customers.

Diversifying product range
Florists recognized a latent need among consumers for comfort and self-care. They created product combos that included fresh flowers to beautify homes and self-care products to appease the stressed customer. For example, Pearsons Flower Delivery has interestingly curated product combinations such as the ‘Cheers, Beers, & Plants Hamper’ or the ‘Cake Wines Rose and Flowers.’ 

New opportunities
With more time spent at home, an increasing number of people are adopting gardening as a hobby. Customers are also gaining interest in dry flower arrangements. Floral merchants here have an excellent opportunity to cater to a new consumer base with slightly different needs than fresh-cut flowers.

Customer connect
Keeping in touch with customers is vital for top-of-the-mind-recall. Florists have been trying to maintain a connection with their patrons by engaging with them through social media, adding value through digital content, and enhancing the goodwill factor.

To read the complete article, go to www.thesouthafrican.com.


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