According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), overall spending for the 2008 holiday season declined 2.8 percent. It was the first decrease in holiday sales since NRF began tracking and forecasting holiday sales in 1995.
Consumers were extremely conservative and price conscious this year for all of their purchases. “Consumers showed they were more than willing to wait out retailers this year, causing increased pressure on prices,” says NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells.
How did this impact large growers and their poinsettia production and sales? Big Grower polled more than 20 growers across the country (with growing space of 250,000 square feet or more) to find out more about their growing season and wholesale sales.
While the survey is not scientific, it does paint a pretty good picture of how the market looks today.
The struggling economy, unpredictable weather and plant disease seemed to be the biggest scrooges this season, according to the growers we surveyed.
Unusually cold and snowy weather in the Pacific Northwest hurt poinsettia sales in that region, one grower said. Another noted he had shrinkage caused by a Botrytis problem in his poinsettia crop.
To minimize the financial risk, one grower said he resorted to hiring a contract grower this year to produce poinsettias for his business.