PMA's researchers reveal the answer and much more

US: Will consumers continue buying flowers and plants in 2021?

The pandemic boosted the floral sales in 2020, but will consumers continue buying flowers and plants in 2021 when coming out of the pandemic? This is one of the main questions the industry is asking itself, and the short answer is yes. PMA conducted several types of research that confirm it, and during the virtual session last week, some key findings of the researches have been highlighted.

Floral sales
The floral sales saw a dip early in the pandemic as retailers focused on keeping food and beverages in stock, but very soon after, floral started outpacing produce growth, and floral sales have remained highly elevated ever since. And the floral industry is still experiencing very healthy growth, not only when we compare it to last year (+9.8), even when we compare it to 2019 (+12.7%), data presented by IRI reveals. And when comparing March 2020 with March 2021, they report an increase of 8% in dollar sales and over 4% increase in unit sales.

But what was it about the pandemic that was able to bring the perfect storm for a floral boom? “The first pandemic caused a lockdown and this, in turn, made consumers concerned about their home, third the lockdown and pandemic caused the consumer to be much more mindful about their mental health and fourth we saw consumers turning to other products like floral products to help bring joy and happiness into their lives. All of this created this increase in floral purchases”, Becky Roberts, moderator of the session, explains.

Will consumers continue to buy floral as they had through 2020? This is one of the main questions and in order to answer this question, PMA conducted research in March 2021. And one thing the research really proved is that flowers do make people happy. “72% of the respondents said they purchased flowers, and they purchased them for themselves. And of the 72%, 70% of the self-purchases was because they make them happy.”  

The research also showed that most flowers are sold in-store and that flowers are still impulse purchases. 75% of the respondents who purchased flowers for themselves did it at a physical location (44% of them at the supermarket), and the remaining 25% purchased flowers either online or both. And 41% of the ones purchasing flowers said it was an impulse purchase, they did it because they saw something that caught their eye. These figures show that merchandising becomes very important for the industry to pay attention to.

When looking at the expectations, when asking consumers how often they expect to buy flowers for themselves in 2021, it is 1 to 2 times. Also interesting to mention is the expectations of the consumers regarding flowers. The respondents said that they expect flowers to last up to one week and that is very positive as flowers typically last for two weeks, which means that the industry is already surpassing their expectations.

Potted plant sales
Now, for the potted plant's side, the PMA research has the following stats: 89% of the respondents bought a plant for themselves in 2020 with 34% of them that they bought it more than twice for themselves. Also for this category, most went to a physical location to do it (82%), the majority, however, went to home improvement stores. 62% of the self-purchases were the home and same as for the cut flowers, mental health and happiness are one of the main reasons. Also, 44% of the purchases took place was because a plant caught their eye.

When looking at the consumers who purchased potted plants more than twice, 37% are expected to purchase potted plants again in 2021. And also for 2021, growth is expected as of the 83% who purchased potted plants in 2020, 87% is expecting to purchase potted plants in 2021. In 2021, they expect to buy potted plants for themselves 1 to 2 times.

How to continue thriving
In breakout sessions, several questions were discussed regarding how to keep the industry thriving. According to the panelists, several points are important to take into account when moving forward, like communicating the benefits of the product, education, and more marketing and advertising - not only for the holiday. This will not only stimulate impulse purchases, but it will also help the consumer to enjoy their product longer and therefore stimulate repurchases.

Optimism for the future
Overall, most of the respondents are (83%) are optimistic as they expect sales to grow in the next 12-18 months.

More topics discussed
During the session, more topics were discussed like the importance of collaboration, innovation, and warehouse automation as well as the freight issues on the road, air, and sea.

To gain access to the full PMA reports, contact Becky Roberts at 

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