As the Omicron wave continues to decline in the United States, garden centers have seen steady sales for Valentine’s Day this year. Additionally, in-person purchases appeared to be higher compared to the previous two years.
The projected data of the National Retail Federation’s 2022 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey estimated a total of $23.9 billion in sales and according to the survey’s gift trends, 37% of consumers planned to buy flowers in 2020. This number fell 1% in 2021 but gained a percentage point this year, according to the data.
Shoppers this Valentine’s Day had money to spend and, as always, flowers (and other plants) topped the list as shoppers headed to the garden center in search of gifts. Garden center The magazine spoke to three retailers to learn about the trends and insights that influenced this year’s holiday.
As rose and other supply chain shortages were expected to hit the industry hard, Sue Klein, owner of Klein’s Flowers and Greenhouses in Madison, Wis., says his business has done very well.
“We were a little worried that we couldn’t deliver our vases on time, but in the end we got everything we wanted. Same thing with some flowers. We’re lucky to have three different suppliers that we can rely on, so if it wasn’t available from one, it was usually available from another,” she says.
Kara Prebish, floral director at Breezewood Garden and Gifts in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, says its IGC has not experienced significant shortages, but flower prices were much higher this year.
According to Prebish, cut flowers were not difficult to obtain; they were just expensive. However, she says that although the upside prices were much higher than usual, Breezewood did not sell them at full market price.
“Our dozen roses should have cost around $165 (with a vase included) but we didn’t do our full markup. We just met somewhere in the middle so we could help them, while making a profit,” says Prebish.
She also says that Oasis glassware and floral foam were harder to come by than usual, but luckily Breezewood had stocked up during the Christmas season in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.
Jill Barczak, operations manager at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, Illinois says they experienced shipping delays before the holidays, but nothing too extreme. Blumen Gardens does not sell fresh cut flowers, but does offer succulent arrangements and houseplants for Valentine’s Day.
“It wasn’t crazy, but everything that was supposed to happen the first week of February arrived around the 5th or 7th. So it was a little late for some things, but we had received so many shipments before that it was okay,” she said.
All three garden centers noted constant foot traffic throughout the weekend and the holiday itself. Considering Valentine’s Day fell on the Monday after the Super Bowl, Prebish says Monday was a busy day.
“People didn’t fully think about Valentine’s Day before. They were planning a Super Bowl party instead,” she laughs. “I think they all woke up the next morning and were like, ‘Oh, oh, I’m in trouble! “”
Prebish also observes that deliveries have decreased slightly from around 10-12 orders and pickup orders have increased slightly, which she attributes to last minute planning on the customer side.
Klein says it helped that the holidays fell on a Monday this year because IGC did a lot of prep work over the weekend. Also, it helped that the weather was above zero.
“I don’t remember exactly what the temperature was, but I mean it was in my teens, which for Wisconsin isn’t bad in February!” It’s funny – I always laugh that Valentine’s Day is the same day every year, but every year it’s like people wait until the last minute or forget. But we had a lot of foot traffic on Sunday,” says Klein.
For Breezewood, the past two years have had some of their biggest Valentine’s Day sales. Although this year’s sales broke even, different categories were more popular. Last year, vase flowers and arranged flowers were more popular than packaged flowers, while last year it was the opposite, she said.
“I feel like people are starting to step out of their comfort zone and do things again. There have been a lot of flower sends over the past couple of years,” she says. “Now I I think people are starting to grow out of that and they’re going back to stores and garden centers and florists, they really want to see what’s there now.
For Blumen Gardens, the start of the year has been much slower than 2021, causing some rumblings of concern. Fortunately, she says, Valentine’s Day sales were impressive. Klein’s saw a 52% increase in sales over last year, but Klein says it comes down to two major factors: the weather and the day of the week.
“You have to keep in mind that last year was a Sunday, which is probably the worst day of the week for a florist. We also had a -30 wind chill,” she says.
For Breezewood and Klein’s, mixed flowers and rose bouquets are consistent Valentine’s Day bestsellers.
“We don’t know if it’s because of the price of roses, but mixed bouquets have been very, very popular this year. They were the best sellers in the floral department,” says Klein.
While Blumen Gardens is known for its houseplants and succulent arrangements, Barczak says they also offered different Valentine’s Day products this year, which proved to be a hit. Premade cards containing chocolate bars were all the rage, along with embossed pink and red planters with phrases like “You Grow Girl” and “Plant Lady.”
“This light, bohemian pink is very popular right now. We sold a lot of similar planters that maybe weren’t specific to Valentine’s Day, but more fashionable in the pink and red type of coloring,” says Barczak.
Share the love
While Valentine’s Day shoppers have traditionally been men buying flowers for their partners, 2022 has shown the spark of a new trend: gifts between friends and family members.
Barczak remembers a situation where a customer, whose arms were loaded with bags. The customer said, “I just buy a little something for my five girlfriends and get one thing for me.”
“I’ve seen everyone just need a little spark of joy this year and just want to give friends a little gift. You know, just a little gift – nothing crazy, not breaking the bank – just a ‘Thinking of you’ gift, which we love to see,” she said. “I really think it was a lot more from grandparents or friends and stuff like that. was a little less romantic and a little more freebies.
In Breezewood, Prebish noticed that more and more younger men were buying flowers for their wives, as well as something small for their daughters.
“So they would make a dozen roses for their wife, but then they would get a little $25 wrap for their daughter or something,” she says.