Roughly two-thirds of retail florists responding to a Society of American Florists’ survey on December holiday expectations say they expect sales to rise during the Christmas season. Ten percent said they think sales will be down; 22 percent said they will be roughly on track with 2019 returns. (Remaining respondents weren’t ready to offer a prediction.)
Among those planning for an increase in sales, most (53 percent) said they think the rise will be modest, between 1 percent and 10 percent. Another 34 percent of respondents said they are planning for an increase of 11 percent to 20 percent.
The survey was emailed to SAF retailer members on October 15, 2020 and had a response rate of 6.1 percent.
Other highlights from the survey:
Online is big and growing. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they are planning for their online sales to grow at Christmas, owing to the pandemic and associated restrictions. More than two-thirds of respondents said they have increased their holiday marketing spending online.
Big three challenges. The major challenges facing respondents this year all relate to the pandemic: 57 percent said the loss of certain segments (churches, corporate) work would be an obstacle to a successful holiday this year; 49 percent cited staffing and labor concerns; and 47 percent said general uncertainty related to the crisis and the overall economy posed challenges.
Last-minute rush? Slightly more than half of respondents (53 percent) said they expected customers to wait until the last minute to shop for Christmas this year.
The survey results were first shared Oct. 23 during SAF’s Countdown to Christmas, a virtual event sponsored by FTD, that included a cross-segment panel discussion, Q&A time and breakout conversations centered on some of the top issues retail florists face this year for Christmas, including how to manage higher volumes of online orders, retool marketing and outreach for the pandemic period, keep staff safe and motivated and work through supply chain slowdowns on both the fresh and hardgoods side. The recording of that event is available now and is free to SAF members.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.