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Survey shows 2010 floral spending recovering slowly

MIAMI BEACH, FL — Average annual floral spending, an estimated $184 in 2010 for all U.S. households, is recovering from the Great Recession, when it bottomed out at $180 in 2007 at the beginning of the downturn. But with the slow recovery it still lags behind the robust pre-recession level of $191 in 2000, according to a study by Prince & Prince, a market research firm in Columbus, OH.

Results of the survey of more than 1,000 randomly selected households in 2000, 2007 and 2010 were presented June 20 by Tom Prince, president, at the International Floriculture Expo, here. The survey covered cut flowers and potted plants only. Its generous definition of a floral-buying household was one in which any member bought at least one flower a year; 65 percent of all households in 2010.

Prince estimated that the size of the U.S. consumer floral market in 2010 was $13.7 billion, including $8.8 billion for cut flowers and $4.9 billion for potted plants, a 2 percent decline in cut-flower spending, but a 12 percent increase for potted plants. Florist shops led in total sales in 2010 with 34 percent of the market, a drop of 8 percent from 2007, with supermarkets a strong second at 32 percent, up about 3 percent from 2007.

“For some key demographic groups, traditional florist shops lost significant cut-flower share, while the other major channels, especially supermarkets, generally gained share,” Prince observed. He posed the question: “As the U.S. economy recovers from the recession, will current channel shares be maintained, or revert back to pre-recession levels?”

Taking just two of 30 questions the survey covered on retailer “performance factors,” both related to color (“offers fashionable colors” and “don’t have colors I want”), Prince noted that on fashionable colors florist shops got a 77 percent ranking, closely followed by Internet and telephone order gatherers with supermarkets lagging with 68 percent.

On “don’t have the colors I want” (where a low score is best), florist shops garnered 4 percent; supermarkets, 16 percent. Super-discount stores were worst with 28 percent. Internet and phone companies, garden centers, farmers markets and wholesale stores all scored under 10 percent, substantially better than supermarkets.