Much competition for flowers as gift21 December 2016
In December we give a lot of presents. What type of presents are chosen? And how important are flowers and plants as gifts? Our Consumer tracker provides more insight into these matters. We summarise here the results from the core countries of the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK.
When consumers think about presents, their minds generally turn to perfume, cosmetics and toiletry articles. They occupy first place on the list of possible gifts. In second place, many consumers think of gift coupons. Flowers take third place.
In the last quarter of the year, flowers are less 'mentally present' as a potential gift than in the other three quarters. In the fourth quarter consumers tend to think more about:
Unfortunately for flowers and plants, consumers spend most of the money on gifts in this last quarter. That is a natural consequence of the festivities in December such as Christmas.
Source: Royal FloraHolland Consumertracker, Q4 2015 until Q3 2016, data from NL, GER, FR en UK together
Flowers are often an accessory gift
If we count all the gifts sold in a year in all four core countries, then flowers are the gift given most often, followed by toys, decorative items, and chocolates or confectionery. But in the Netherlands and France, flowers are not in first place.
In the fourth quarter you see a very different distribution for the four core countries. Then the sales of perfume, clothing and jewellery increase significantly. Chocolate and toys are given more often than in the rest of the year. Flowers and decorative items become less common as gifts in these festive months.
Throughout the year flowers are given as an accessory gift 37% of the time. For plants this figure is 34%. In Germany both flowers and houseplants are more commonly an accessory gift (44% and 38%, respectively). In the fourth quarter we see large differences compared to the rest of the year. Then flowers are accessory gifts almost half the time. For plants, this figure is 41%.
Favourite gift for important occasions
The most important occasions for giving flowers and houseplants are:
- A birthday
- As thank you
- When visiting someone
For birthdays flowers are more often an accessory gift, but for the other three occasions, both flowers and plants can be the main gift. These are occasions for which consumers make less effort and it is less important that the gift is personal. Around the Christmas season, flowers and plants are usually an accessory gift.
Gifts especially for women
As perfume, cosmetics and toiletry articles are first on the list of top-of-mind gifts, it is not surprising that in general more gifts are given to women. Almost 70% of all gifts are given to women. For flowers this figure even exceeds 90%, and for houseplants and garden plants it is 82% and 77%, respectively.
Who is the likely recipient of these gifts? They are mostly given to:
- The partner (28%)
- Friends (16%)
- Mothers (10%)
The partner is the largest recipient of gifts in the Netherlands, but in comparison to the other core countries, Dutch people give less to their partner (18% of all gifts). Most flowers given as a gift in those four countries go to the partner (41%), just like houseplants and garden plants (27% and 22%, respectively). And again the Dutch partner loses out more than in the other core countries: in our country only 30% receive flowers from their partner, 14% receive houseplants and 12% garden plants.
Regarding flowers, mother is in second place (18%) and friends in third place (14%). In the Netherlands and Germany it is more usual to give flowers to acquaintances and neighbours than in France and the UK. In the fourth quarter, families take priority, and gifts are given more often to one's children and partner.
What are the opportunities for flowers and plants?
As flowers are a relevant gift all year round, but less so in the festive season, then there is something that makes flowers less suitable as a personal gift. Earlier research conducted by Royal FloraHolland into the motivations and barriers to purchasing flowers revealed that consumers find it difficult to make flowers personal. In the holiday season, flowers and plants would have to be decorated to look more like a gift. Make them into something exclusive and ensure that the recipient is aware that an effort has been made to buy this gift.
There may be other opportunities:
- Flowers - and to a lesser extent plants - are not a 'typical' gift for men. Are there flowers or plants with a masculine/tough appearance that could be marketed as a gift for men?
- In promotion campaigns targeting the Dutch market (flower), the theme of 'romantic' has disappeared. It is more prevalent in our neighbouring countries.
- Could combination packages be created with other products? For example, a bunch of flowers given with perfume with the same scent? Or a small bottle of perfume together with flowers with the same scent? This offers consumers not only a great gift but also convenience.
- In the Netherlands Sinterklaas is not usually a flower- or plant-giving event. Could a concept be created for Sinterklaas? A great start was made by passing out gerberas during the Sint's annual parade.
- Plants are highly popular around Christmas, but flowers are less so. There are opportunities here. For example, a Christmas flower arrangement instead of the traditional wreath.
The Royal FloraHolland Consumer tracker is a continuing survey in which we ask 700 consumers in four countries (Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK) about their purchasing behaviour every week online. We also ask consumers who have recently purchased something the following questions:
- What did you purchase?
- Where did you purchase it?
- Why did you purchase it?
- How many of them did you buy?
- How much did you spend on it?
We use the insights from research in market reports, translate them into sales advice and process them in our country reports Facts & Figures.
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