With so many people unable to visit others on Thanksgiving, many chose to share their love by sending flowers. At least, that’s how it seems based on a just-released report by the Society of American Florists. They surveyed retail florists across the country at the beginning of December, and a full 71% saw their sales increase this year over 2019. 13% said sales were the same, and only 15% reported fewer sales.
This is excellent news as we are about to enter into the biggest floral holiday of them all: Valentine’s Day. Here are some key takeaways from the survey that we hope will help you start preparing now for Valentine’s Day — it will be here faster than we think!
Holiday Staffing Issues
Hiring extra people is often necessary during a holiday, but this year it’s been especially tricky. Many employees have had the added burden of remote schooling and potential quarantines, putting additional strain on floral businesses. Add to that the need to find temporary help, and the issue gets tougher.
Many of those responding to the survey noted that they’d had difficulty finding additional workers. And many have lost employees due to positive COVID tests or possible exposure to COVID in their households. To handle this, they’re having the remaining staff work longer hours.
The pandemic will still be ongoing when Valentine’s Day rolls around, so the threat of infection among staff is a constant issue. Floral shops must take every possible precaution, from sanitation and social distancing to “pod” scheduling, which reduces the overall impact if one of the team comes down with COVID.
Adapting to COVID
It’s not just the in-store practices that have shifted as a result of the pandemic. Survey respondents noted that they have concerns about supply chain shortages, particularly as we head into 2021 and the biggest floral holiday of the year.
SAF got a similar response about shortages on their Valentine’s Day Expectations Survey conducted in November: 50% of florists said they’re worried about fresh product shortages, and 46% are concerned about the availability and cost of hardgoods.
With the ongoing COVID concerns, people will be less likely to head out to that romantic Valentine’s Day dinner and will want to spend it at home instead. That means creating a romantic setting with — what else — more flowers! But according to the survey, it won’t just be flowers that customers will want: Many retail florists are adding more gift items, including plants, smaller arrangements, and lots of greens, to their regular floral offerings.
Needless to say, Valentine’s Day 2021 will be unique! But with proper preparation, keeping these survey results in mind, you can be set up for your best Valentine’s Day ever!