Forecasting can be risky, but PMA’s Holiday Floral Market Watch
Reports can help.
The task of
forecasting sales goals and targets became much more difficult
as our economy slid into a recession, yet these economic times
clearly call for smart business decisions. So how do you predict
your holiday sales in today’s turbulent times?
In the past, we have used previous experience to help us
predict our holiday sales trends. But as this recession has
rocked the financial foundations of many consumers, we need even
more information about what is happening today to support our
forecasting. Smart floral retailers and suppliers will seek out
and utilize the latest information on industry and consumer
trends from a range of sources, including trade publications,
industry consultants and trade associations.
Association (PMA) has been surveying floral retailers
and suppliers after each of the four major floral holidays since
the year-end holidays of 2007. The timing of that first PMA
Holiday Floral Market Watch Report was terrific because now we
know that holiday was the beginning of the recession, with
retailers seeing significant setbacks as their predictions never
materialized. Since then, most retailers have been less
aggressive, sometimes at the cost of purchasing too little
product and limiting sales—a tragedy because sales in this
market are not easy to come by!
The findings of the
Floral Market Watch Reports vary for each holiday and are
available free to PMA members at
www.pma.com. Several trends
in the reports’ data cut across all the holidays, so here’s a
sneak preview to get you started.
• Consumers have made real
cuts in their floral expenditures. For some, this means
completely eliminating their holiday floral purchases. Others
are reducing the quantity or size of their purchases. Another
group has switched retail channels, shopping at stores where
they perceive better value. Thus, some fortunate retailers are
actually experiencing increased floral sales.
• Consumers still enjoy
plants and flowers as periodic pick-me-ups and are looking to
keep this little luxury as affordable as possible. Favorite
holiday plants and flowers help consumers recall good memories
and enjoy times with friends and family, without having spent
• Floral retailers and
suppliers are already making changes to their programs to
reflect these new consumer trends. Items are downsized; pricing
strategies better communicate value; and merchandise quantities
are reduced by some, increased by others. Retail displays convey
affordability and feature items of cheerful colors, exceptional
value and freshness for satisfaction.
to use this data
working on a longer timetable, must consider how these trends
impact them far into the future. In selecting colors for fall
and Christmas, how can you change your mix to a more cheerful
palette that still reflects holiday favorites? What items will
be “risky” or difficult to sell as the economy continues to drag
or, at best, begins to improve in small doses?
Based on the Holiday Floral Market Watch Report
information as well as my study of consumer trends and the
general economy, I predict better sales of bright yellows and
oranges this fall, with fewer sales of dark bronze, rusts and
browns unless paired with bright colors. I’ll even go as far as
predicting the demise of the painted poinsettia unless it is
significantly changed; instead, the market will favor more
traditional poinsettia colors.
So when will we begin to see an improvement in floral
sales? Most expect this recession will have long-lasting effects
on consumer spending, continuing throughout this year, with some
improvement in the spring of 2010.
Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday in 2010; therefore, I
would focus on incremental improvement at Easter instead of
beginning with Valentine’s Day. This should translate into
better results for Mother’s Day and hopefully continue
throughout the remainder of the year.
PMA’s Market Watch Report surveys are sent to more than
300 floral retailers and suppliers after each holiday. We
encourage all survey recipients to participate fully, helping us
return more information back to you.
Critical Mass offers experts in the floral business a monthly
forum to express their views on a variety of topics of
importance to the industry. These viewpoints are not intended to
reflect the opinions of anyone at Super Floral Retailing or
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.
Sandy Hering of Floral Marketing Innovations is a consultant in
the horticultural industries. She provides analysis and
commentary for PMA’s Holiday Floral Market Watch Reports,
reporting on each of four major holidays per year. You can reach
her by telephone at (508) 758-3008 or by e-mail at
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.