American households spent an estimated $6.1 billion on flowers and plants in 2004, an increase of 2.3 percent over 2003, according to Ipsos, a leading survey-based marketing research company.
That is the good news: the Ipsos/AFE Consumer Tracking Study (now in its 12 year) also shows that the floriculture industry continues to have difficulty finding new customers, with fewer households buying floral products over a 12-month period. Although the total number of households who purchased flowers and plants held steady during 2004 - reaching 63 million U.S. households - the industry did not keep pace with population growth, the Ipsos study showed.
"2004 was spotty for the floral industry," said Barrie Rappaport, a floriculture industry analyst with Ipsos in Chicago. "Consumer spending increased from 2003, but overall demand slipped. The industry has had difficulty retaining its customer base over the past few years but may finally be starting to dig out, as the buyer count in 2004 held at the 2003 level. In particular, flower and plant customers purchased slightly less often than they did last year, perhaps a result of increased spending on a per-product basis, more than the rate of inflation (+4 percent)."
"The profits growers and retailers share are derived from what consumers spend for flowers and plants and continue to be squeezed. It was this perceived lift in the average price paid by consumers for floral products among the existing customer base that was the source of the industry's dollar growth in 2004. Future growth depends on maintaining and maximizing purchasing among the existing core floral buyer group and at the same time, developing appropriate strategies to attract the infrequent or non-floral buyer."