Floral consumers plan to pull back on spending, but Millenials say they will buy even more flowers

Tropical foliage plants such as Monstera, Philodendron and Alocasia remain very popular with consumers.

Across the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, consumers are feeling pessimistic about economic recovery, coupled with widespread concern about eyewatering inflation. As a result, enthusiasm to spend on floral products is waning except from Millenials.

The Flower Council of Holland, the marketing arm of the Dutch flower industry looked into how eyewatering inflation is affecting flower and plant sales at home, and in the four major export destinations for Dutch flowers and plants, that is, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

A recent online survey found that approximately  30 per cent of consumers expect to spend less on flowers and plants in the next six months.

In contrast to a comparable survey conducted in May of this year, floral consumers now also appear to be more pessimistic about their financial situation and are adapting their choices accordingly.

Millennials are an exception in this regard, and responded they want to buy even more flowers and plants.

After the first survey in May of this year, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the UK rose by around nine percent to 11.1 percent by October. It also increased in the other countries during the same time period. To gain an insight into the effect of inflation on anticipated purchasing behaviour, the survey was repeated during the last week of October. A total of 1,666 consumers in the four countries completed the online questionnaire as part of a representative sample.

Ever increasing inflation is causing a large group of consumers to have concerns about their own financial situation. One third (34 per cent) believes that their situation has worsened over the past six months and 34 per cent expects this to happen within the next six months. Of all respondents, 42 per cent do not expect their financial situation to worsen during this time period. In contrast, 14 per cent have actually improved their financial position and 16 per cent expect an improvement in the next six months. These percentages have decreased marginally since the survey in May.

The percentage of respondents that expressed an intention to buy more flowers is more or less equal to the one in May: 12 per cent for themselves and 13 per cent for others. Compared to May, a larger group of consumers expects to buy fewer flowers for themselves (29 per cent now vs 20 per cent in May). Fewer flowers are also expected to be purchased as gifts (26 per cent now vs 18 per cent in May). Houseplants and outdoor plants showed comparable percentages in the survey.

Unlike the survey in May, some of the frequent buyers are now also more pessimistic about their current and future financial situation. They indicate that they will be buying fewer flowers and plants. This is different for the Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995), who expect to give more flowers as a gift and buy more houseplants and outdoor plants for themselves or others.

According to market analyst Ruurd Hielkema, the context in which you ask consumers about the impact of inflation on their buying behaviour makes a difference. “For example, after seeing marketing communication about the Thanks Plants campaign, they clearly have a more positive attitude than in the recent inflation survey. We also know that flowers and plants are not at the top of the list when it comes to personal cutbacks. Groceries occupy number nine in the top-ten ranking and, in most cases, include flowers and plants. Energy costs, eating out and weekend getaways are also included in this ranking. In other words, there are reasons enough to continue the campaigns.”

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