The global floral industry began in the late 19th century to become one of the high-level sectors in both the developed and developing world. Vast estates first grew flowers for resale in the United Kingdom to establish floriculture as a viable means of profit, which then expanded to the rest of the world.
By 1994, the industry reached its first $100 billion year. Since then, however, florists have struggled to keep what they’ve earned. The global trade volume of floral products in 2003 was just over $101 billion.
Because of the fragility of the product, most floral industry firms targeted consumers that were closest to the largest urban areas of their region. Germany holds the largest share of the market today at 22%, followed by the United States at 15%, France at 10%, and the United Kingdom at 10% as well.
Although the Netherlands is just 9% of the global floral industry, Aalsmeer is the largest flower market in the world. More than 8 billion blooms go through the auctions each year, supplementing the revenues earned.
Important Floral Industry Statistics
#1. Floriculture item sales at all retail outlets in the United States reached a total of $30.8 billion in 2016. It was the first year the industry was able to recover from the losses experienced during the recession years of 2008 and 2009. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#2. Americans spent an average of $95.14 on flowers, potted plants, and seeds in 2016. That’s more than $13 higher per person than 2012 spending figures. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#3. About 13,000 florist shops are currently operating in the United States. Each location earns an average of $322,000 in revenues each year. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#4. There are currently 503 floral wholesalers operating in the United States, along with almost 6,000 domestic floriculture growers. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#5. 64% of the fresh flowers which are sold in the United States, measured by value, come from the import market. 78% of sales come from products sent from Colombia, followed by 15% which come from Ecuador. Mexico comes in a distant third with 2% of the U.S. import market. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#6. 76% of the nationally-grown flowers sold in the United States come from California. Washington State contributes 6% of the market, while New Jersey and Oregon each offer 4% respectively. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
#7. Revenues in the flower industry reach about $8 billion per year when only cut blooms are measured. About 95,000 people have direct employment opportunities because of the floral industry. (IBIS World)
#8. 60% of the businesses operating within the floral sector in the United States feature a single owner with no employees. Another 27% of the firms in this space employ fewer than 5 people. (IBIS World)
#9. The job outlook for florists in the United States could decline by 9% over the next decade. Job distribution may decrease by 29% or more in shops, but see an 8% increase in grocery store employment. Supermarkets employ about 6,200 workers in the floral industry. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
#10. 38% of florists in Canada are classified as being a non-employer or hold an indeterminate status. Almost 70% of the shops have between 1-4 employees, with nearly all having 9 or fewer workers. (Statistics Canada)
#11. Florists in Canada generate $750 million in revenues each year, with the average business earning about $260,000. Over 65% of the firms currently operating in this space are classified as profitable. (Statistics Canada)
#12. Businesses in Australia working with flowers have experienced employment growth of 58% since 2011. That is five times higher than the national industry average. A 10-year forecast of 21% growth is in place as well. (Australia Department of Jobs and Small Business)
#13. The average age of a florist in Australia is 44, with 97% of the jobs filled by women. More than 8,100 people are currently working in the industry, with most employment opportunities classified as being part-time. Only 1 in 3 workers hold a full-time position. (Australia Department of Jobs and Small Business)
#14. About 1 in 8 floral industry businesses in the United Kingdom closed in the past 12 months. There is a shift toward online retailing and supermarket sales in the UK, just as there is in the United States. (Society of American Florists)
#15. 16% of the workers employed in the UK floral industry are 55 years of age or older. 23% of the labor force is under the age of 25. (IBIS World)
#16. Women run 91% of the floral businesses operating in the UK. (IBIS World)
#17. The current value of the floral industry in the United Kingdom is estimated to be $1.5 billion, although the sector averages a decline of 6% per year since 2011. (IBIS World)
#18. 77% of flower purchases involve a specific occasion or reason. Birthdays (12%) and anniversaries (12%) are the primary events that inspire a floral purchase. They’re followed by appreciation gifts (6%), home decoration (5%), and romance (4%). (Society of American Florists)
#19. Only 34% of the purchases in the U.S. floral industry involve fresh flowers. Outdoor bedding and garden plants represent 46% of earned revenues. Flowering plants provide the remainder of the sales. (Society of American Florists)
#20. Women represent 79% of the sales earned by the global floral industry each year. When fresh flowers are viewed as an independent segment, that figure drops to 65%. (Society of American Florists)
#21. 63% of floral purchases are intended for personal use, but only 1 in 3 purchases of fresh flowers are for oneself. (Society of American Florists)
#22. 92% of women say that the best reason to receive flowers is “just because.” (Society of American Florists)
#23. 69% of people plan to purchase flowers for Mother’s Day each year, but in 2017, only 35% of people followed through with their intentions. (National Retail Federation)
#24. 30% of the transactions which occur in the global floral industry happen during Valentine’s Day, representing 28% of the dollar volume experience during all holidays. Only Christmas is a more popular time to purchase flowers (29%), while Mother’s Day comes in third (24%). (Society of American Florists)
#25. 88% of the floral gifts offered on Mother’s Day involved fresh flowers. 44% offered houseplants, while 32% gave green plants. It was not uncommon for mothers to receive more than one gift that was flower-related. (Society of American Florists)
#26. 73% of Americans say they have a high appreciation of flowers, with Generation Y leading the way at 76%. 40% of people who purchased flowers from a local florist say that it helped them during a past or current relationship. (Society of American Florists)
#27. 77% of Americans say that people who give flowers are perceived to be thoughtful. 60% say that a floral gift offers a special meaning that is impossible to replicate with other presents. (Society of American Florists)
#28. 69% of Americans believe that the smell or sight of fresh flowers will improve their overall mood. (Society of American Florists)
#29. 88% of Americans say that giving flowers makes them happy, while 80% say that receiving flowers makes them feel the same way. (Society of American Florists)
#30. 89% of people remember the time that someone gave them flowers, while 77% of women specifically recall the last incident when they received flowers. (Society of American Florists)
#31. 45% of the flowers managed by the floral industry die before they are ever sold. (Society of American Florists)
#32. Despite the preference for giving flowers on holiday occasions, because birthdays and anniversaries are the top reasons to give floral gifts, over 50% of sales occur on non-calendar events. (Society of American Florists)
#33. 49% of full-service grocery stores and supermarkets offer some type of floral service. 26% of self-service stores, along with 23% of limited service stores provide access as well. (Produce Marketing Association)
#34. The average pay for an American florist employed by a supermarket in 2015 was $11.35 per hour. (PayScale)
#35. Customers spend an average of $12.55 on floral transactions, representing about 1.5% of total store sales in companies featuring mass-market implementation. (Produce Marketing Association)
#36. Supermarkets and grocery stores dedicate an average of 580 square feet to their floral sales efforts. (Produce Marketing Association)
#37. Total sales per grocery store or supermarket in the floral segment totaled $223,000 in 2015, which was a 5.6% increase over the year before. The gross margin was 44%, with labor costs accounting for 18% of the total sale. (Produce Marketing Association)
#38. 68% of consumers say they make in-store supermarket transactions specific to the floral industry. 42% of shoppers admit to purchasing flowers because of an impulse. 31% of sales are for holiday occasions. Weddings make up just 4% of grocery store transactions in the United States. (Produce Marketing Association)
#39. Sales during the Christmas season account for 30% of the revenues earned in the supermarket segment of the U.S. floral industry. The total value of these transactions in 2015 was $2.28 billion. Most holiday sales are for poinsettias. (Produce Marketing Association)
#40. 89% of supermarket floral customers say they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their purchases. (Produce Marketing Association)
#41. 79% of grocery store customers say they purchased cut flowers at their local market in the past year. 73% bought flower bouquets. The next favorite purchases were flower arrangements (30%), green plants (28%), and wildflowers (24%). (Produce Marketing Association)
#42. Bouquets are the primary purchases made at supermarkets, accounting for 29% of all sales. Roses come in second with a 16% share of the segment. Consumer bunches take third with a 14% share. (Produce Marketing Association)
#43. 59% of supermarkets and grocery stores say that they’re emphasizing roses over the next year to promote higher sales. Arrangements (56%) and bouquets (56%) tied for second. They’re followed by balloons (44%), flowering plants (44%), and consumer bunches (41%). (Produce Marketing Association)
#44. Only 6% of supermarkets plan to push single-stem flowers as a product of emphasis in the next 12 months. (Produce Marketing Association)
#45. 97% of floral businesses say that increasing profitability is their primary operational emphasis over the next 12 months. (Produce Marketing Association)
Floral Industry Trends and Analysis
The flower growing centers shifted from Europe to South America in the 20th century, with many former producers now becoming importers. How consumers approach the industry changed over the years too, moving from a “just because” purchase to a gift for special occasions.
We are seeing another shift taking place in the industry right now. Consumers prefer to shop online for their flowers more often or shop in-person at grocery stores or supermarkets. That trend reduces the viability of independent floral shops, which is why owners operate the average business on their own.
The industry itself will continue to thrive, although the $100 billion level of revenues seems to be an informal cap which is difficult to exceed. Expect the industry to continue earning sales at this level in the next 5-year forecast period as businesses consolidate, employees move to new locations, and e-commerce becomes the primary method of purchase.
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