Thank you for taking the time to visit our research page.
Updated September 2023: Our study about the German market.
Here’s our latest updated publication: The Canadian flower market.
What do florists have to do with research? A lot, actually. Ever since the first florists set up shop in Europe in the XVIIIth century, research was at the center of their craft. They had to figure out the following points:
What did the public want? This question wasn’t an easy one to answer. It wasn’t a given that flowers would always remain so popular to greet, to thank, to mark anniversaries or birthdays. Certain flowers became more suited for certain occasions. Mind you, these changes took decades if not centuries to unfold. Many years ago, roses were reserved for mournful celebration. And situations vary from country to country. A good florist has to be in tune with their time, and have the right assortment of flowers for the right occasions.
How to get them what they want? In the earliest days, a florist would directly cultivate their own flowers and make bouquets from them. Today, the reality is sadly very different in most cases. A lot of flowers travel many times across the world to reach their destination. Some are cultivated by exploited peoples who bear the brunt of very polluting cultivation techniques. There is definitely a dark side to the flower delivery business today. But some florists are fighting back. Today, a florist has to choose their side, and that side is determined by the answer to the third question below.
Who are my clients? Based on that, a florist will be able to give them what they want, the way they want them. A certain number of people may only care about the price: the cheaper the better. Others will care about the cleanliness of the flowers: organic, cultivated with tight worker protection. Others will want more creative bouquets. Some will only want seasonal flowers that didn’t need a long trip to get to their vase.
How will I survive? Today, let’s face it, the global economy has brought most florists to their knees. Unless you have enough volume, your prospects are grim at best. But there is hope. Hope is coming mostly from quality. Quality is difficult to achieve on a large scale, which means a small artisan has the edge over a multinational company. But that edge also depends on question 3 - who are my clients - and if they are sensitive to economic and environmental issues.
Regardless of all these answers, the XXIst century is a century of challenges for florists in this globalized economy, and they need to fight back, advertise their products better, and stand out. They also need to unite across borders. One of our members is a flower delivery service in France. They collaborate directly with their colleagues, a network of florists in Spain. Without such support, it would be hardly possible for them to survive. What’s more, the technology that is available today will be very useful to florists: they can streamline their user experience, cut down costs, help them advertise their services on the world wide web and elsewhere. This is why this is a period of challenges but also of opportunities: there are many success stories all around the world, whether in Europe like we’ve seen above, but also overseas, notably in the US and Canada. We will share some of their stories here, as well as the lessons they’ve learned from their challenges, in the hopes that other artisans will find inspiration and courage in their successes.
In terms of production, the billion dollar industry of cut flowers is transforming : historically the Netherlands was the number one producer, but this is changing rapidly, Kenya and other East African countries are increasing production. They are able to produce throughout the year, they benefit from cheap labor and a lack of ecological oversight. In contrast, the Fair Trade business which is also present in Kenya, Tanzania and others, is a real welcome change in terms of workers’ protection and environmental protection. At this point, it only represents about 20% of overall East African production. Demand in Europe and North America is still too low. But it is growing. Awareness is rising among more and more people every year, and there’s no denying that it will keep growing. Any smart company would invest in Fair Trade flowers in the future - as knowledge is gaining ground. The flower delivery business is expected to reach 10 billion by 2031. Nobody wants to support a business with negative effects on local populations and wildlife. Which is why local artisans have a real advantage. A change is coming.