As the European floral sector changes rapidly, it’s necessary to understand what’s really happening. Here’s a sneak peek at the 2017 European Florist Sector Report, scheduled for release June 2017.
Florint represents 120,000 florists throughout Europe and gathers information from member associations who represent florists both locally and nationally. The report includes surveys of 14 of its members: Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Croatia, Poland, Romania, the UK and Ukraine ( 350 million Europeans in total). It includes key statistics by country, market analysis and competitive landscape characteristics, as well as business challenges and solutions.
The study sees a mix of challenges in various countries. In markets with an entrenched floral culture (Holland, Germany, France, the UK), florists can buy a wide variety of quality flowers at relatively low prices. But since significant new players entered the market they have had to add value. FDF (Germany’s Florist Association) says this is their members’ key priority. A Bucharest florist with many diverse customers and domestic consumption on the rise needs the right stock to start with. Florists in Athens and Madrid know all about being flexible in a recession. In the UK, with a culture fixated on Primark deals, florists feel the effects of brutal competition from supermarkets and online outlets.
In recent years the European floral sector has seen sales fall and shops close. In 2015, Florint reported a 19% decrease in sales and a similar share of professional florists closing their shops. “Although in the past two years the decline stopped, we’ve seen a plateau of sorts. It’s a culture of limited spending which those florists who have survived have finally adapted to,” says Florint’s Mike Bourguignon. “Florists still have a lot of homework to do. New flower shops have popped up, but often with completely new concepts. Unlike older florists, Millennium colleagues focus on two or three important points. These flower shops have become décor outlets, offering home furnishings and flowers as an experience. They live and thrive through their new community and clientele online. They take marketing and business seriously, being more aggressive and present at all costs.”
The European floral industry, however, is competitive, dynamic and trend-driven in a period of healthy innovation. Business experts predict the return of the cottage industry. It’s all about the revival of local manufacturing and smaller, dedicated and individual businesses. For a florist this is the time to start or revamp his business as marketing opportunities abound. And the internet is king. Florists are embracing new ideas and opening trendy flower shops. But it’s complicated. They say customers’ buying habits have never been more diverse and find it difficult to understand and manage customers’ expectations. One of the Florint solutions is better knowledge of consumer marketing, which should not be undertaken individually but in cooperation with trade associations to keep abreast of what is happening in the market and learn how to adapt to it.
Florint’s Mike Bourguignon, who is also a florist in Madrid, Spain, found a way to attract his clients on Valentine’s Day by making a hit movie on YouTube. “In Spain we have three Valentine prejudices,” he says. “People only buy flowers at V-Day, and let’s be honest, there are better times to buy flowers than February. V-Day is about couples. Why should single people be left out? Spanish florists claim there’s no floral culture in Spain, but for Spanish customers flowers are in their top 20 gifts.
So we made a movie (cost: 250 euros) to put an end to these prejudices and show the power of flowers. It shows loud and clear that people love flowers. On Valentine’s Day we prepared eight bouquets that people could take for free without anybody noticing except our candid camera. The reactions, emotions and faces were priceless. People do love flowers. The message of love with flowers works for everyone. We created a community message. No selling or pushing, just pulling to show the true effect of giving flowers. And that’s all there is.”
Watch the Bourguigon movie here.