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Valentine’s Day: Member Survey Results

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2018 Valentine’s Day Survey Results

A mid-week holiday, mild weather in much of the country, a strong economy — and a lot of blood, sweat and savvy marketing and promotion led to a strong Valentine’s Day this year for many florists.

Sixty-eight percent of Society of American Florists retailer members responding to the group’s post-holiday survey said their Valentine’s Day sales increased this year, compared to sales in 2017, when the holiday fell on a Tuesday. About 41 percent said sales this year were higher than Valentine’s Day 2007, when the holiday last fell on a Wednesday.

Source: SAF 2018 Valentine’s Day Survey. Emailed Feb. 19. 11.7 percent response rate.

Want to see the Valentine’s Day 2018 survey results in a larger infograph? Check out the results here.

2017 Valentine’s Day Survey Results

A Tuesday holiday was a boon for most florists — and for many Society of American Florists members, the gains this year were significant. About 88 percent of respondents to an SAF post-holiday survey experienced an increase in Valentine’s Day sales this year. Read the full story here.

Source: SAF Valentine’s Day 2017 Survey, emailed February 20 to all SAF member retailers. 11.7 percentage response rate.

2016 Valentine’s Day Survey Results

Results from the Society of American Florists’ post-holiday survey. Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said their sales dropped this year, compared to 2015, when the holiday fell on a Saturday. Read the full story.

Source: SAF Valentine’s Day 2016 Survey, emailed February 19 to all SAF member retailers. 12.5 percentage response rate.

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Want to see the Valentine’s Day 2016 survey results in a larger infograph? Check out the results here.

2015 Valentine’s Day Survey Results

Saturday V-Day 2015 Challenges, Successes: A Closer Look at Holiday Returns

Almost 48 percent of the respondents to SAF’s post-holiday member survey reported a drop in sales, compared to last year. Of those florists, 31 percent said the drop fell in the 6 percent to 10 percent range.

Still, 37 percent of florists said their holiday sales were actually higher this year than 2014. Among those who saw an uptick, 30 percent reported a relatively modest increase in the 1 percent to 5 percent range; another 21 percent reported increases that fell between 6 percent and 10 percent.

To get a better sense for holiday results, SAF also asked consumers about their buying habits, in a Valentine’s Day 2015 Poll, conducted by Ipsos eNation in the days immediately following Feb. 14. That survey found that about 24 percent of American adults bought flowers or plants for Valentine’s Day this year (roughly the same as 2014 and 2013 levels), spending an average of $51.80 —an increase over last year ($46.20) but a decrease from 2013 ($64.20).

Accounting for the Day

As one florist in Winston-Salem, N.C., noted, comparisons between the Saturday holiday this year and the Friday holiday in 2014 can be tricky: weekend holidays are notoriously challenging for the floral industry, and last year many florists, including those in parts of North Carolina, had to battle through fierce ice and snow storms — even worse winter weather, in some cases, than florists experienced this year.

In fact, when florists were asked to compare this year’s returns with results from 2009, when the holiday last fell on a Saturday, the picture appeared somewhat brighter: About 50 percent of respondents said sales increased this year compared to 2009 and 13 percent said they were about the same. Nearly 16 percent reported this year’s sales were lower. (About 12 percent said they didn’t know and nearly 9 percent said the question was not applicable to them.)

Differences by Size, Location

Digging deeper into the SAF member survey data for this year, while business size and location seem to have played a role in the returns for 2015, the difference was generally minor.

For instance, among businesses with less than $300,000 in annual sales:
• 49 percent reported a decrease.
• 36 reported an increase.
• 15 percent reported flat sales.
At the other end of the size spectrum, businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales reported similar returns:
• 51 percent confirmed a decrease.
• 44 percent experienced an increase
• 5 percent reported flat sales.
Meanwhile, among self-described urban/city florists, about 49 percent saw a decrease in sales, 35 percent saw an increase and 14 percent reported flat sales. (Almost 2 percent weren’t sure of results).

On the other hand, 39 percent of rural florists reported that sales were about equal to last year’s results, 33 percent said they increased and about 28 percent experienced a drop.

Factors Behind Increases

About 39 percent of florists of all sizes who saw an increase said weather was a factor; 35 percent credited higher price points and 30 percent said positive returns resulted from shop ads and promotions. Other factors included: the regional economy (24 percent); fewer flower shops in the area (24 percent); the day of the week (19 percent); higher delivery charges (10 percent); and expanded territory or new locations (about 5 percent).

One florist in Salt Lake City expressed surprise over the shop’s increased sales, and like a number of other florists, pointed to the improved economy and the prospect of more disposable income in consumers’ pockets: “The economy is good, and I think people were willing to celebrate it earlier, especially the offices.”

Far from complaining about the Saturday holiday, several respondents said the weekend event improved the pacing of the holiday, making it a multi- rather than one-day event. “[We] found that this [holiday] was a little easier to handle as it was spread out over a couple of days,” noted one respondent in Ontario.

Reasons for the Drop

Unfortunately, that sentiment wasn’t the experience for everyone this year — far from it.

Among florists who saw a decrease in 2015 holiday sales, 95 percent said the day of the week was a factor. About 32 percent of florists with decreased sales blamed the weather, 30 percent said competition form mass marketers and supermarkets hurt them and nearly 23 percent blamed order-gatherers, at least in part. Other factors included competition from non-floral vendors (15 percent); the regional economy (10 percent); street vendors (6 percent); competition from other florists (5 percent) and lower price points or average sales (4 percent).

“This year, a lot of people said they were staying in or close to home because it was a snowy and [long] holiday weekend with [government offices] and schools being closed, not much in the office delivery [department],” explained one florist in Manchester, N.J., who also reduced the number of “under-valued” wire orders he fills.

In Portage, Ind., “We had severe cold and white-out conditions on Valentine’s Day,” wrote one respondent, adding that the weather caused them “to suspend our wire orders and cease deliveries.”

“Cold weather and snow were a huge influence this year in New England,” agreed a florist in Concord, Mass. “We had lots of requests for ‘spring-like’ arrangements.”

Venue of Choice

The consumer survey results support retailers’ perception that competition for Valentine’s Day dollars is stiff — and not getting any easier.

That survey found that supermarkets or grocery stores were the most common venues for purchase (49 percent), as they had been in 2014 (44 percent). Next in rank were retail florists, where about one-third of buyers (35 percent) made their flower purchases, similar to the percent that had done so in 2014 (31 percent). Mass merchandisers (16 percent), national Internet floral services (13 percent), national toll-free floral services (9 percent), street vendors (9 percent), and convenience stores (3 percent) rounded out the venue mix.

Sales Figures and Trends

SAF’s member survey also queried members on product mix and average sales. Among all respondents:

• About 52 percent of orders were for roses; about 68 percent of those rose orders were for red. Forty percent of orders were for mixed flowers and 9 percent were for non-rose single flower type arrangements (e.g. all tulips).
• Respondents charged on average $84 for a dozen arranged long-stem Valentine’s Day roses. By comparison, respondent said they usually charge about $66 for a dozen (non-holiday) arranged long-stem roses.
• Respondents charged on average nearly $67 for a dozen unarranged long-stem Valentine’s Day roses. A similar everyday (non-holiday) arrangement would retail for an average of $51, according to survey results.
• Overall, the average purchase amount per transaction on Valentine’s Day was about $72.
Here, the consumer survey again provides interesting perspective. Indeed, according to that survey, red roses were the most popular flower gift in 2015, bought by nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of flower buyers. Exploring the data in more detail reveals:
• Red roses were as popular in 2015 (63 percent) as they had been in 2014 (61 percent) and 2013 (63 percent).
• After red, the next most popular colors for Valentine’s Day roses were pink (27 percent) and white (26 percent).
• White roses proved more popular in 2015 (26 percent) than they had been in 2014 (11 percent).
• Purple/lavender (18 percent), yellow (15 percent), peach/coral (13 percent), and orange (11 percent), also had advocacy as rose colors in 2015, all showing slight increases from 2014.
• Mixed colors of roses were favored by about 20 percent of flower buyers.
• Among flower purchasers, one-quarter (25 percent) bought a single type of non-rose flower, while one-third (35 percent) bought mixed flowers.
• Plants (23 percent) were bought by nearly one in four purchasers.
In addition, the consumer survey provides information on who consumers were shopping for, when they headed out for Valentine’s Day: Half of all buyers were targeting the gifts for a spouse (54 percent) and one-fifth gave the flower gifts to a significant other (20 percent). Other common gift recipients included mothers (27 percent), friends (15 percent) children (10 percent), and oneself (12 percent). Rounding out the list of gift receivers were sisters (8 percent), grandparents (4 percent), fathers (3 percent), and some other relative (3 percent).

The Push for Holiday Sales

About 38 percent of respondents to SAF’s member survey reported promoting early-order incentives and 32 percent said they offered early-delivery incentives. Those pushes seems to have paid off for some:

According to respondents, about 72 percent of orders on average came in before Valentine’s Day; 34 percent on average came in on Valentines Day. About 44 percent of orders on average were delivered on Valentine’s Day

Compared to last year, 53 percent of respondents said their shop promotion for the holiday remained the same and nearly 33 percent said they increased those efforts. About 10 percent decreased efforts. (The remaining 3 percent said the question was not applicable to them.) Popular means of promotion included the following:
• Social media, 79 percent
• Store signage, posters or displays, 68 percent
• E-mail promos, 56 percent
• Online ads, 51 percent
• Print ads, 42 percent
• Outdoor ads, 31 percent
• Radio ads, 23 percent
• Direct mail, 18 percent
• Partnership with local business, 17 percent
• PR/media interviews, 13 percent
• TV ads, 4 percent
Other interesting tidbits from the SAF survey include the following:
• 23 percent of respondents said they stopped taking orders or turned away business this year.
• Respondents brought in an average of seven additional workers for Valentine’s Day.
Overall, Valentine’s Day sales comprise on average 14 percent of annual sales for individual businesses.

2018 © Society of American Florists

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