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Consumer Demographic Trends Lift Floral 

Purchasing for Easter

Insight from the Updated Prince & Prince Consumer Research Seminar  

NOTE: Updated consumer floral-purchasing trends are available in the Prince & Prince U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey, now available as a one-day, on-site, comprehensive seminar, with Q&A session, or as a "Seminar on Flash".   

Dr. Thomas L. Prince

Dr. Timothy A. Prince

Prince & Prince, Inc.

Columbus, OH USA



Release Date: February 28th, 2013



Consumer Demographic Trends Lift

Floral Purchasing for Easter


Insight from the Prince & Prince Consumer Research Seminar

Drs. Tom & Tim Prince, Prince & Prince, Inc., Columbus, OH

Special Note:  This feature article is based on research findings excerpted from the updated Prince & Prince (P&P) Seminar, “The U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey”.   The Easter holiday purchasing metric is one of over 100 floral metrics highlighted in the P&P seminar, now available to the floral industry.   This P&P consumer floral research was sponsored by Smithers-Oasis, N.A.   P&P thank Smithers-Oasis for their support in making this latest research update possible, providing benefit for the entire U.S. floral industry.  

       The Easter holiday is one of several floral occasions in the U.S. tied to a religious event.  For the Easter holiday, many Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and children largely express their amazement with the Easter bunny.   Many times, this celebratory event involves consumer purchases of fresh cut flowers and flowering potted plants, such as the Easter lily, for home decoration and gift-giving.   While this “floral holiday” has traditionally been only moderately strong in terms of overall floral sales (compared to the earlier Valentine’s Day, and the later Mother’s Day holidays), the 2008 recession and resulting sluggish economy in the U.S. challenges floral retailers and companies throughout the supply chain to focus more on holiday sales to meet overall annual sales targets.

       In this reporting, Prince & Prince (P&P) shows an historical profile of consumer household floral purchasing for the Easter holiday, findings excerpted from the updated P&P seminar, “The U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey”, as well as “archived findings” from P&P’s initial floral tracking survey conducted in 1996 (see About the P&P Survey in Appendix).   The Easter holiday purchasing metric is just one of over 100 floral-purchasing metrics collected in the P&P consumer tracking research, and detailed in the P&P seminar (see Table 1).   A portion of the consumer floral data, collected at three time-intervals 

over the past decade (before the recent U.S. recession, year 2000 and 2007, and after, 2010) reveals how the 2008 recession has impacted floral purchasing for various holidays, occasions, and events, including the Easter holiday.   In addition, demographic data from the P&P survey identifies emerging trends that drive floral purchasing for Easter.   An understanding of these consumer trends will likely assist the floral industry in making this upcoming Easter holiday the best ever.

Consumer Floral Purchasing for Easter Rebounds After the U.S. Recession

(but after a decade-long slide in purchasing)

       Figure 1 reveals that across 1,280 randomly-selected floral-buying households nationwide in 2010 (after the U.S. recession), 23% had purchased one or more floral products for the Easter holiday, reversing a more  

than decade-long slide for this holiday.   This 23% “household floral purchasing incidence” for Easter in 2010 compares to lower purchasing of 21% in 2007, but much higher purchasing in 2000 (27%) and in 1996 (35%; for “incidence of floral purchase” for cut flowers and/or indoor potted plants, see definition in Appendix).   In 2010, Easter was ranked in the middle, 12th highest, of floral purchase incidence among the 24 holidays, events and occasions measured in the P&P consumer research, but it was ranked 8th highest in 1996.

       The 2010 rebound in consumer floral purchasing for Easter is very important for the floral industry, as it may signal the end of a long slide in consumer purchasing for this holiday.   And the relatively small gain in 2010 over 2007 was statistically significant.   However, the 2010 purchasing gain pales in comparison to the combined losses in floral purchasing registered since 1996.  Since P&P’s first consumer survey in 1996, Easter 2010 had lost about one-third of its initial “purchasing power” nationwide.   

       From P&P’s market research, P&P estimates that in 2010, about 75 million households in the U.S. were floral-buying households, making one or more floral purchases throughout the year (contact P&P for details on this estimate).   In 2010, slightly less than one-quarter of all floral-buying households in the U.S. made at least one floral purchase for the Easter holiday.   Thus, P&P projects that slightly more than 17 million households bought floral products for Easter in 2010.   But back in 1996, P&P calculated that there were slightly more than 24 million U.S. households making a floral purchase for Easter.  Thus, the floral industry still has a way to go in fully regaining the “lost Easter market” in the U.S.   

 Specific Consumer Groups Drive Easter Purchasing Dynamics

       To identify specific consumer groups that drive U.S. household floral purchasing for the Easter holiday, P&P segmented the overall purchasing findings by ten household demographic characteristics (demographics shown in Appendix, Table 2).   In this reporting, P&P highlights four key demographics that largely influence household floral purchasing for the Easter holiday: 1) household region of the U.S., 2) annual household income level, 3) age of householder, and 4) presence of children within the household.

  Central and West Regions of the U.S. Rebound for Easter

       Figure 2 shows that household floral purchasing for the Easter holiday varied significantly by region of the U.S. in 2010, as well as across the past decade (denoted by an asterisk in the year box; see Appendix for the states included in each region).  For 2010, the North Central, South Central, and West regions of the U.S. showed a rebound in Easter floral purchasing, especially the North Central region where the 

six-percentage point gain in household purchasing over 2007 levels was statistically significant.  However, the Northeast region and the South Atlantic region (the “Eastern” regions) continued to show a decline in Easter purchasing for 2010 (Northeast region), or no rebound at all (South Atlantic region).  Although the Northeast witnessed declining purchasing for Easter 2010, the 27% “incidence of floral purchase” in that region is still the highest of any region, due to a historically high level of floral purchasing for Easter in the Northeast. 

       Looking back into P&P’s archived consumer survey data for 1996 reveals the magnitude of the long-term loss in Easter floral purchasing for the Northeast region, and is emblematic of the lost market opportunity for the Easter floral holiday throughout the U.S.   Back in 1996, nearly one-half of all floral-buying households in the Northeast region (47%; data table not shown) made a floral purchase for the Easter holiday, a purchasing percentage much higher than the U.S. average (35% in 1996), and much higher than any other region (NE beat the closest NC region by 10 percentage points in 1996).   But by 2010, that once-high purchasing percentage of the Northeast region dropped to a little more than one-quarter (27%).   Thus, over that period (1996 to 2010), the Northeast region lost 20 percentage points in “incidence of floral purchase”, such that Easter purchasing in the region is now only about one-half of what it was in 1996.   For the floral industry, these historical consumer purchasing trends not only provide the industry perspective for this holiday, but also reinforce the importance of the recent rebound in Easter purchasing now occurring in the Central and West regions of the U.S.

Both Low and High Income Groups Now Expand Consumer Purchasing for Easter

       When P&P segmented the Easter purchasing trend data by level of annual household income, a few key trends emerged (Figure 3).  From the trend data, it appears that the recent rebound in Easter floral purchasing is largely due to floral purchasing from both ends of the income ladder.   Since the 2008 recession, the lowest household income group ($25,000 or less) rebounded with a strong 11-percentage  

point gain in floral purchasing for the Easter holiday, with a purchasing incidence of 30% for 2010 (similar to the purchasing incidence of year 2000, a noted boom period in consumer floral purchasing).   This double-digit gain in Easter 2010 floral purchasing for the lowest income group was statistically significant, and the 30% purchase incidence is now the highest of all income groups for 2010.   The next lowest income group ($25,001 to $50,000), and the “middle” income group ($50,001 to $75,000) showed relatively little change in floral purchasing for the Easter holiday (2007 vs. 2010).   However, the next highest income group, those with an annual household income between $75,001 to $100,000 showed a respectable and statistically significant eight-percentage point gain in purchasing, resulting is a 25% household floral purchase incidence for the 2010 Easter holiday.   Unfortunately, this trend in higher floral purchasing did not carry-over strongly into the highest income group, those with annual household income over $100,000, which showed only a one-percentage point gain for 2010 over 2007 levels.  However, this high-income group registered a 25% household purchase incidence for Easter 2010, somewhat higher than the national average.

       These market research findings suggest a current bifurcated Easter floral market in the U.S., whereas significant gains in consumer floral purchasing have recently occurred at the low income levels, and also at the high income levels, but middle-income households have largely not participated in the Easter purchasing dynamics.   From a business perspective, these market dynamics beg for a more segmented market strategy when approaching the Easter floral holiday, with specific floral-product offerings, messaging, services, price-points, and promotional appeals targeted to lower and higher household income groups.   The P&P research findings suggest that a “shot-gun” market approach to the Easter floral holiday will likely be sub-optimal.

Easter Purchasing Lifts with Most Age Groups

       The historical P&P consumer floral data has consistently shown, survey period after survey period, that floral purchasing for the Easter holiday generally increases with increasing age of the householder (Figure 4).   In addition, nearly every consumer age group in 2010 (after the recession) registered at least some lift in Easter floral purchasing, compared to 2007 (except for those aged 65 or older).   The largest rebound (four-percentage point gain) was registered for those consumer households aged 55 to 64.   Thus, the 2010 rebound in floral purchasing for the Easter holiday was largely broad-based across consumer age groups.   And with the likelihood of Easter floral purchasing generally tied to an aging demographic, these market dynamics generally bode well for the U.S. floral industry in the near term, as the “Aging of America” continues.



Children Within the Household Dampens Floral Purchasing for Easter

The presence of children within the household currently has a dramatic impact on household floral purchasing for Easter, however the end result is generally not favorable to the floral industry (Figure 5).   In 2007, going into the 2008 recession, the presence of children within the household reduced  the incidence of an Easter floral purchase by six-percentage points (going from 22% to 16%).   But in 2010, after the recession, those households with children rebounded, with a statistically significant five-percentage point gain (households without children registered a smaller gain), resulting in a household purchase incidence of 21%.  However, for households without children, the 2010 Easter purchase incidence was still higher, at 24%.   In 2010, 21% of all floral-buying households in the P&P survey reported having children within the household.

       The recent “dampening” effect on Easter floral purchasing from the presence of children within the household was not always the norm.   Looking back into P&P’s archived survey data, the presence of children

within the household had absolutely no effect on the incidence of household floral purchasing for the 1996 Easter holiday.  Back in 1996, 35% of each group (with children, without children) made at least one floral purchase for the Easter holiday.   With the year 2000 P&P survey, the difference was one-percentage point (26% vs. 27%), but by 2007, the difference was six-percentage points (16% vs. 22%).   The historical data trends suggest that for households with children, those households are more and more likely to substitute non-floral products (Easter bunny toys, games, candy, etc.) for the once-traditional Easter floral purchase.   Clearly, over the past decade, other product marketers have done a better job at capitalizing on the Easter holiday than has the floral industry.


Market information from the Prince & Prince U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey provides the floral industry compelling market trends and perspective on where the U.S. floral industry has been, where it is now, and where it is likely headed.   This reporting highlighted one of over 100 consumer floral purchasing metrics captured in the P&P survey: consumer floral purchasing for the Easter holiday, with metrics measured before and after the 2008 recession.

In 2010, slightly less than one-quarter of U.S. floral-buying households made one or more floral purchases for the Easter holiday.   This level of floral purchasing for Easter rebounded in 2010 after more than a decade of purchasing declines.   The recent gains in floral purchasing were restricted to the Central and Western regions of the U.S., as the Eastern regions of the U.S. witnessed no rebound in 2010.   The gains in floral purchasing were largely driven by lower and higher income households, with middle-income households not participating in the purchasing dynamics.  Floral purchasing for Easter is correlated with age of householder, as there is generally a higher incidence of floral purchase for the Easter holiday among older aged consumers.   However, the recent gains in purchasing were broad-based among consumer age groups, as almost every consumer age group in 2010 witnessed a rebound in floral purchasing for Easter (except those aged 65 and older).  Since 2000, the presence of children in the household has dampened floral purchasing for Easter, likely reflective of a more-competitive Easter product market, with more and more non-floral products targeted at children.   How the floral industry adapts to and exploits these demographic purchasing opportunities, and meets the challenges inherent in serving different market segments for Easter will largely determine whether the recent rebound in Easter purchasing continues and strengthens, or if the recent gains become just a “blip” on a long-term downward spiral in consumer floral purchasing for this holiday.   

Afterword.   The information in this article was obtained from the updated P&P Consumer Seminar, “The U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey, 2010 Edition”, which P&P now offers to members of the floral industry and allied trade.  The on-site seminar covers the complete consumer floral tracking research, revealing numerous “stories” about emerging U.S. floral-market trends, the changing floral channels, and the opportunities that are currently unfolding for the industry.  Contact P&P for on-site  seminar fees and scheduling.   The seminar is also available on CD (over 1,000 slides of market information), but without much of the commentary and discussion that occurs in the on-site seminar.   Contact P&P for current pricing of the Consumer Floral CD.

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Related Links:  The P&P U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey: http://www.floralmarketresearch.com/details.htm

 The P&P U.S. Retail Florist Tracking Survey (2011 Edition):  http://www.floralmarketresearch.com/florists_2010.htm



About the P&P Survey.   The Prince & Prince (P&P) U.S. Consumer Floral Tracking Survey has been conducted periodically since 1996, and tracks consumer floral purchasing at various floral outlets in the United States.   The survey is administered by first-class mail with a monetary incentive, and is completed by over 1,000 randomly-selected floral-buying households throughout the U.S.  (P&P does NOT use agency panels or on-line polls), thus the survey provides a highly reliable and valid probability sample of U.S. floral-buying households for identifying and projecting floral-market trends.   In the survey, consumers identify the types of floral products that they purchases (over a dozen cut flower and potted plant products surveyed) and reveal the holidays, events, and occasions of floral purchasing.    Consumers then evaluate the floral offerings, services, outlet perceptions and image of up to three floral outlets where they make their floral purchases (over 30 attribute measures for each outlet used).   Collectively, the P&P consumer floral research answers the following: Who are the floral consumers of today?  What are they buying?  How much are they spending?  Where are they buying?  Why are they buying?  How are the specific floral outlets performing? - - their strengths & weaknesses?  In what areas should florists, supermarkets, and other floral mass-market outlets focus to gain more floral sales?   And how has all of this changed since the 2008 recession?  

The P&P consumer surveys obtain a random selection of over 1,000 floral-buying households throughout the U.S., with 1310, 1065, 1,208, and 1,280 households responding to the survey in 1996, 2000, 2007, and 2010.   For ease of reporting, P&P has restricted the data chart exposition in this Easter holiday report to consumer surveys conducted over the past decade only (year 2000, 2007, and 2010 surveys), dropping the more dated 1996 data from the charts.   Smithers-Oasis, N.A., was the key sponsor for the P&P consumer survey conducted in the late Summer/ Fall of 2010.  

Methods & Definitions Used by Prince & Prince.   In the P&P consumer surveys, P&P measures the household incidence of floral purchasing for 24 holidays, occasions, and events, including those floral purchases made specifically for Easter.   P&P defines floral purchasing as the purchasing of fresh cut flowers (arrangements, bouquets, roses, bunches, “stems-to-arrange” (do-it-yourself), and corsages) and/or indoor fresh potted plants (flowering plants, foliage plants, and dish gardens/planters), not outdoor bedding/garden plants.    By household purchasing incidence, P&P means the purchase of one or more floral products by the household for Easter during the study year.   P&P shows the purchasing incidence as the percentage of floral-buying households that made a floral purchase for the Easter holiday for the specific survey years.

In the presentation of survey findings (charts), P&P shows consumer purchasing data from the most recent 2010 P&P consumer survey, and also makes comparisons with prior P&P  surveys conducted in 2007 and in 2000.   This allows P&P to identify trends in consumer floral purchasing across the past decade for Easter.   The P&P survey also collects ten consumer demographic measures that are used in segmentation analyses, including consumer age, income, education, urbanization, U.S. region, household composition, and annual level of household floral spending (Table 2).

In this article, P&P highlights historical household floral purchasing trends for Easter, and shows these purchasing trends across several demographic segments.   In the data charts, an asterisk ( * ) next to a study year denotes a statistically significant trend across the particular demographic characteristic for that year. P&P uses Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with Duncan’s Multiple Range Test to test significance across


demographic characteristics.   An asterisk next to a particular demographic category (e.g. income of $25,000 or less) denotes a significant trend between 2007 and 2010 for that demographic category.  P&P uses pre-planned, single-degree-of-freedom orthogonal contrasts in their ANOVA designs to test the significance between 2007 and 2010 for a particular demographic category.

Definition of U.S. Census Regions.    The five Census regions shown in Table 2 are identified by the following states: Northeast  (CT,  MA,  ME,  NH, NJ,  NY,  PA,  RI,  VT),  North Central or Mid-West  (IA,  IL,  IN,  KS,  MI,  MO, MN,  NE,  ND,  OH,  SD, WI),  South Atlantic  (DC,  DE,  FL,  GA,  MD,  NC,  SC,  VA,  WV),  South Central (AL,  AR, KY,  LA,  MS,  OK,  TN,  TX), and West  (AK,  AZ,  CA,  CO,  HI, ID,  MT,  NM,  NV,  OR,  UT,  WA,  WY).

About the Authors.    Drs. Tom and Tim Prince, formerly of The Ohio State University, are brothers and co-founders of Prince & Prince, Inc. (P&P), a leading marketing research specialist in the floral and green plant industries.    P&P has completed more than 50 major marketing research projects and countless reports for the floral and floral-related industries in the U.S., and has also conducted floral marketing research in Canada, the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, and Spain.   P&P conceptualize, design, and implement market research projects and product tests for floral and green-plant suppliers, hardgood suppliers, floral importers, wholesale florists, retail florists, floral-industry associations, and companies serving the allied floral trade.    For more information about P&P marketing research and services, and their informative on-site seminars, visit their web site at www.FloralMarketResearch.com.


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