It seems the British are spending more on flowers and plants again. At least, that was evident during the Mother's Day and Valentine's Day period according to a market visit conducted in the spring of 2017 in the UK.
During this market visit to the Cash&Carry's and florists near London, it became clear that sales were good around the holidays. Despite the uncertainty associated with Brexit, these companies realised an increase in turnover in Q1.
Greatest increase in seasonal flowers
Traditionally, the list of the top 10 cut flowers sold in the UK is headed by roses, chrysanthemums, lilies and carnations, but in the last two years, seasonal flowers like tulips and amaryllis and year-round products like gerbera and lisianthus have become increasingly prominent. Around 50% to 70% is currently ordered and delivered via the Cash & Carry webshop. This has resulted in fewer florists physically coming to the Cash & Carry.
New Covent Garden Market opens at new location
The largest wholesale market in the UK, New Covent Garden, changed its location on 3 April 2017. Royal FloraHolland and a number of growers visited this new, lovely and fresh location. The new wholesale market consists of 25 flower and plant dealers and a few hardware and pottery suppliers. Many dealers confirmed that they had a positive result for the first quarter of 2017 compared with last year.
Outlook of top-segment florist improving
During the market visit, we stopped by many top-segment florists in London. These florists are leaders for the market as a whole. Many local, smaller florists look up to them and copy their trends. The various interviews revealed that they had a positive result in the first quarter. This is due particularly to the currently strengthening economy. There is little effect of Brexit visible, except for the fluctuations in the exchange rate of the pound. The florists have noted primarily an improvement in the commercial and major events market. Many companies, hotels and catering outlets are again spending money on horticultural products, and the demand for floral subscriptions is increasing according to the dealers. "The British want to be cheered up with flowers in this turbulent time of uncertainty, war and attacks."
Supermarket loses market share to online
The supermarket channel is and will remain the most important sales channel for flowers in the UK, 47% of consumers buy flowers via this channel. But in the last year this sales channel seems to have passed its peak, and there is a shift evident towards online and the top-segment florist. The online channel in particular has expanded dramatically in the past 5 years, from 3% to 13% in 2016. The number of companies offering flowers online has exploded, and there is a lot of competition.
Opportunities for exclusive Dutch flowers
There is still plenty of growth possible in the British market despite the approaching Brexit. British consumers love flowers and will keep buying them even in these turbulent times. Growth is primarily evident in the online segment and the top-segment florist. Consumers are buying more from the online channel, and the demand is increasing for exclusive flowers from florists for the commercial and major events market. Florists are looking for luxurious, exclusive flowers that are unavailable or less likely to be found in the supermarket so they can distinguish themselves from the rest.