It’s certainly been a wild year for the floral industry, yet we see positive signs for the future. Most recently, the Society of American Florists conducted a survey of retail florists to learn their thoughts on the upcoming December holiday.
The results are encouraging: 64% of the florists responding said they expected sales to rise this Christmas season compared to December 2019. 22% felt that sales would be similar to 2019—which in itself is an excellent sign since 2019 sales were pre-pandemic. Only 10% of respondents say they think sales will be down this year.
Of those who predict an increase in sales this year, 53% said they think it will be between one and ten percent. 34% of those responding are planning for a much more significant increase: between 11 and 20 percent. Following are a few more survey highlights:
Chart Analysis of Sales Expectations: Christmas 2020 vs Christmas 2019
Online Sales Will Grow
We know—you didn’t need a survey to tell you that, right? Nearly 90% of retailers answering the survey expect their online sales to grow over Christmas due to the current pandemic-related restrictions. Additionally, more than 75% of retail florists have already increased the amount they’re spending to market their holiday products online.
If you haven’t yet prepared your website for the holidays, now is the time. Get those Christmas-themed arrangements photographed and uploaded to your site, and prominently display your holiday promotions.
53% of survey respondents said they expected customers to wait until the last minute to shop for Christmas this year. This is no surprise, as the pandemic has resulted in confusion and indecision for so many.
You can prepare for these last-minute shoppers by offering expedited delivery on your website—at a premium price, of course. Make sure to send out regular emails and social media posts until the very last minute to show you are there to fill their needs.
Three Main Challenges
With all the positive news, there are still crucial challenges all floral retailers face this year due to the pandemic. 57% of respondents said that the loss of churches, corporations, and other key segments would be an obstacle to successful holiday sales. 49% mentioned that they had concerns over staffing and labor due to the pandemic. And 47% felt challenged by the general uncertainty as well as the overall economy.
Yes, things are taking a positive turn. And yes, there are challenges. Stay focused on your online presence and marketing, including on social media. Keep your staff safe and motivated, despite the inevitable supply chain slowdowns. We are all in this together, and we know that this, too, shall pass. Keep moving forward towards a great holiday season!