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Plenty of Room to Push More Petals


While the supermarket channel remains the primary outlet for consumer purchases of fresh floral products, followed next by stand-alone floral shops and online floral websites, food retailers have vibrant opportunities to push plenty more petals as part of their fresh offerings.

That's among the key takeaways from a seminar presented at the recently concluded PMA Fresh Summit –Targeting Floral Customers: Understanding Generational Buying Patterns – by session leader Brian Numainville, principal of Retail Feedback Group (RFG).

The fresh research study by RFG, conducted online in September 2015 among 333 shoppers (54% female/46% male), examined several aspects of floral shopping among consumers from a generational trio comprised of Millennials (115), Gen X (103) and Baby Boomers (115), all of whom purchased fresh flowers in the last three months.

Results of the study aimed to help the retail grocery channel focus on how these three demographic groups shop for floral products, explained Numainville, foremost to which are Boomers, who not only "spend more, but do so more often and are more satisfied with the supermarket channel."

While Millennials are the primary target for many retail initiatives these days, "Nearly half of Millennials spend less than $50 annually on floral purchases," Numainville noted. "On the other hand, Millennials purchase flower bouquets at a higher rate and also visit farmers markets more than the other generations. Plus, Millennials are much more likely to purchase flowers to celebrate their own special occasions compared to Gen X or Boomers.”

Among the key highlights of the new floral findings:

  • Millennials shop farmers markets at a higher rate (15%) than any other generation for floral products, while Gen X shops at a higher rate at home improvement stores (10%) as compared to the other generations.
  • Interestingly, the largest percentage of shoppers purchase floral products just three or four times per year.
  • A larger percentage (19%) of Boomers purchase at least every two weeks versus just 8 percent of Gen X and 6 percent of Boomers.
  • Boomers spend the most annually on floral products (30%, $150 or more) while nearly half (48%) of Millennials spend under $50 annually.
  • Accordingly, both Boomers and Gen X spend significantly more on floral than Millennials in the $150 or more range

Found below are select highlights of verbatim responses from each demographic group when asked:

"What Would Encourage You to Buy More Fresh Flowers?"


“Smaller arrangements at a cheaper price vs. a larger arrangement at a higher price.”

“Most definitely cost and convenience. My local florist is in a small shop that I have to specifically visit, if she was right next to my grocer or the selection was better at my grocer I'd probably purchase more often. One place I always purchase is at Trader Joe's if I go in. The selection is huge and very inexpensive. Having the prices marked loud and large the way they do always stops me and it's right as you enter.”

Gen X

“I would buy more flowers for myself if I didn't always think of flowers and plants as being for other people! The displays are always huge around holidays – maybe a sign or something suggesting "brighten up your day/home" or "treat yourself to some sunshine" would make people think to buy for themselves!”

“I am a spontaneous buyer. When I see pretty flowers at a good price, I can't resist. So, selection, availability and sales would encourage me.”


“Special arrangements with add on options allowing custom gifts to be created.”

“Having them in the grocery store at a very inexpensive price.”

Floral Frequency, Spend and Channel

Overall, 89 percent of shoppers in the study indicated they were satisfied with the supermarket channel compared to 83 percent total satisfaction with flower shop/florist and with online floral shop/service. Looking only at "very satisfied” ratings, 43 percent were very satisfied with flower shop/florists compared to 30 percent supermarket and 30 percent online floral shop/service. And, considering just the supermarket channel, Boomers handed out the highest “very satisfied rating” for this channel (35%) versus 28 percent for Millennials and 26 percent for Gen X.

The kinds of floral products purchased was also measured. Cut flowers (72%), flower bouquets (62%) and flower arrangements (40%) were the top three. However, Boomers purchased cut flowers at a higher rate (79%) versus Gen X (73%) and Millennials (65%). Considering flower bouquets, Millennials purchased at the highest rate (71%) compared to Gen X and Boomers, both at 57%. And Gen X purchased flower arrangements at the highest rate (49%) versus Millennials (37%) and Boomers (36%).

Considering only those who shopped mostly at the supermarket, cut flowers and flower bouquets were purchased at a higher rate, while flower arrangements, green plants, and flowering/budding plants were purchased at a lesser rate.

Quality/freshness was ranked the top factor of importance when shopping for floral products, followed by pricing, variety and service/advice.

The top reasons for purchasing flowers/floral products were as a gift for others (68%), to celebrate special occasions of others (57%) and to decorate their home (41%). Interestingly, 21 percent of Millennials indicated they purchase flowers to celebrate their own special occasions (versus 21% of Gen X and 9% of Boomers). Gen X shoppers had the highest percentage (74%) indicating they buy flowers/floral products as a gift for others (versus 66% of Boomers and 65% of Millennials).

Further, 71 percent of those in the study purchase flowers primarily for others. When asked why they don’t purchase more often for themselves, half of the Boomers indicated that they had never considered it (versus 47% of Gen X and 33% of Millennials).

On the other hand, the highest percentage of Millennials indicated they were not interested in flowers (40%) compared to Gen X (36%) and Boomers (18%). Finally, Millennials also were more likely to indicate that it was too expensive to purchase for themselves (35%) compared to Gen X (21%) and Boomers (22%).

For more info, reach out to RFG's Brian Numainville at [email protected].

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