Outlets that sell flowers and plants together with other items such as clothes and furniture are gaining momentum in Japan, the majority of the customers are buying flowers and plants for home use, and seasonal flowers are the most telling image of sustainability among Japanese. These are some of the key findings of the Flower shop customer survey Japan 2022, which was conducted by the Council for Japanese Flower Production and Distribution and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). It was planned and analyzed by Aoki Kyoko of Gerda Research. Click here to learn and read more about the survey. 

For the survey, 1005 customers of 9 flower/plant retailers in Japan were asked about their purchasing behaviors and evaluations of the shops they use. The nine outlets surveyed include florists, supermarkets, home improvement centers, net shops, and compound shops. 
*Here, outlets that sell flowers/plants together with other items, such as clothes and furniture, are collectively referred to as "compound (hybrid) shops."

Key findings

Purchase behavior

  • Overall, 48% of the respondents buy flowers and plants for home use, 39% for gifts, and 23% for religious offerings for the deceased. Supermarkets are characterized by heavy reliance (approx.40%) on specific items for customary religious offerings. 
  • Average customer spending(ACS)per visit stands at 2,169 yen (1 USD=139 yen). The ACS at supermarkets is 868 yen.
  • Specialty florists have the highest ratio of steady clientele who "always use the shop" (16%).
  • Customers of Hibiya Kadan, Aoyama Flower Market (AFM), and compound shops share a strong fondness for flowers and plants (each around 30%).

Customer evaluations

  • This research employs the following 8 Customer Satisfaction (CS) related indices: Comprehensive customer satisfaction, need fulfillment, quality perception, cost-performance, emotional fulfillment, repeat purchase intention (customer loyalty), affinity with the shop (inner loyalty), and willingness to recommend.
  • On average, general florists enjoy the highest overall satisfaction rate of 7.5 on a 10-point scale. The ratio of the most satisfied customers (TOP2, the sum of those who rated 9 or 10)
    is greater at Hibiya Kadan (31%), followed by compound shops (21%).
  • In terms of cost performance, florists (7.3) and Hibiya Kadan (7.2) earn excellent ratings. Supermarkets, where ACS is at the cheapest, suffer from the lowest marks (6.2).
  • Supermarkets receive an even lower mark for quality perception (6.0). They should prioritize quality improvement first. Otherwise, it would be difficult to appeal to cost performance, i.e., value or pricing vis-a-vis quality. As some users say in free answers, "flowers are wilting at
    the storefront, being left uncared-for".

The rise of hybrid shops entering from other retail sectors

  • In this research, it has become evident that compound shops outperform existing flower retailers in some areas. Their CS scores of overall satisfaction, emotional fulfillment, and inner loyalty are close to the levels of Japan's top florist brands.
  • Text analysis of open-ended answers on good points suggests that what compound shops offers are more involved with "service experiences" than "plants (goods)" per se.
  • Their hybrid nature has the potential to expand "points of contact" with flowers/plants to prospective customers currently using other categories, such as apparel and books, who
    would otherwise remain untouched.

Presence of attentive staff is appreciated across all physical shop users

  • Text analysis on good points indicates that staff with insights and knowledge leave a feeling of gratitude along with positive impressions on customers of all physical shops.
  • "More stylish merchandising" and "better atmospherics" are demands commonly voiced by mass retailers' users.
  • Various respondents expressed interest in buying substandard flowers/plants.

"Seasonal flowers" as the most telling image of sustainability among Japanese

  • The elements that evoke ecologically friendly associations are "seasonal" flowers/plants (28%), followed by "organic/naturally grown" (24%) and "locally grown" (23%). Seasonal flowers/plants are rooted in Japanese climate and culture and seem to be naturally recognized as having low environmental/socio-economical loads.

Click here to learn and read more about the survey.