Consumers bought nearly half of their flowers in 2016 at the florist. This is according to research figures from Floraholland Florists Quarterly Scan in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
Market researchers from the Royal FloraHolland Business & Market Intelligence Department conducted four surveys among florists in 2016. This is also called the Florists Quarterly Scan. The insights obtained from the first two scans are described in this report.
In Royal FloraHolland's core countries, florists are responsible for almost half of the turnover in flowers going to the end consumer. This group is also responsible for about a quarter of the sales of houseplants and one-tenth of the sales of garden plants.
Largest share of turnover is flower sales
Almost all florists sell flowers as well as plants. They earn most of their money by selling flowers (about half of the turnover). Around 60% of all florists also sell artificial flowers, which are responsible for at most 5% of the turnover. Accessories (pots and vases) lag behind; at least 85% of florists sell pots and vases, but they form at most 15% of the turnover. Mixed bouquets are the most important product in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, while flower arrangements are popular in France.
Strongest competitors are supermarkets and online
Every quarter we ask florists how the competition has developed in the past quarter compared to the same period in 2015. In all of the countries, the florists experienced increased pressure from supermarkets. And in the Netherlands and the UK, online suppliers and shipping organisations are also major competitors. It is striking that 'other' florists provide the least competition in all four countries.
Florists classifiable in six segments
Previously, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) conducted qualitative research into the Dutch florists market, and divided it into six segments. Three of these segments are prominently present here:
- 'Dorien', the turnaround florist. Between 25% (FR) and 42% (UK) of florists
- 'Sara', the specialist. Between 17% (DE) and 47% (FR) of florists
- 'Conny', concept florist. Between 14% (NL and FR) and 28% (UK) of florists
'Sara' offers added value and high quality, and asks a higher price for this service. 'Conny' has flowers as one part of her shop supply. 'Dorien' is often located next to a supermarket and deals mostly with quantity and competing on price. As the 'Dorien' segment represents a large share of the florists, it is not surprising that they experience the most competition from supermarkets.
The other three segments are:
- 'Oscar', the online florist
- 'Victor', the fresh products shopkeeper
- 'Robbert', the mobile florist
The year's assortment is set
Florists assess their own assortment with a score of 8 out of 10 in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. In France this score is lower, 7. At least 87% of the florists in each country state that the assortment is set throughout the year. Only in Germany and the UK is a small portion of the assortment set at the beginning of the year. In all countries high quality and a good price/quality ratio are the most important purchasing criteria. In response to the question of how suppliers could improve their service provision to florists, the most commonly cited point is: improve the quality of the supply (ca. 10%). A larger proportion (ca. 20%) is satisfied with their suppliers and could not think of any suggestions for improvement.
Florists buy from traditional channels
In all of the countries, florists buy most commonly from wholesalers or cash & carry, followed by the road carrier. The Netherlands forms an exception as Royal FloraHolland is in second place. It is possible that due to the lack of scale, most florists cannot arrange price agreements and buy directly from a grower.
The vast majority of florists collect the flowers themselves, and only a limited proportion is ordered online. In the UK, a large proportion of florists already buy online. Other surveys have shown that purchasing online is more advanced in the UK than on the continent. Physically collecting the flowers takes a lot of time. It is thus not surprising that there is little time left over for marketing and innovation.
Two hours a week for marketing
In the Netherlands, Germany and France, a majority of florists does not devote even one hour a week to marketing. In the UK, this proportion is 44%. This leads to an average of less than 2 hours a week. The range is from the lowest in France (52 minutes) to the highest in the UK (2 hours and 11 minutes). In the Netherlands and the UK, social media are used the most. In all of the countries, Facebook is the most popular option. A large proportion of German, French and British florists focus on selling other products to existing customers. Between 30% and 52% of the florists also advertise in local newspapers and magazines.
How does the Florists Quarterly Scan work?
Currently, two of the four Florists Quarterly Scans in 2016 are complete and have been used as input for this article. Each quarter, 400 florists distributed over the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK are surveyed by telephone and online. The scan consists of a series of set questions asked every quarter and additional questions that change each time.
The Business & Market Intelligence Department uses the insights from studies like these in its reports and marketing advice.