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Research Reveals Owner-Age Profile

 of U.S. Retail Florists

Published in the September 27th, 2003 edition of Flower News

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


NOTE: Updated retail florist market information is available in the Prince & Prince U.S. Retail Florist Tracking Survey, now available as a one-day, on-site, comprehensive seminar, with Q&A session, or as a "Seminar on Flash".   Click on "SEMINARS" from the P&P Home Page.


Note: This article is based on recently completed market research conducted by Prince & Prince for the floral industry.  The market research was co-sponsored by the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA).  We welcome your comments on this article.

Prince & Prince, Inc. (Columbus, OH) has recently updated its nationwide study of retail florists, and has published a new marketing research report for the floral industry. The 2003 report, "Product, Service, and Operational Trends of the US Retail Florist Industry," reveals product, marketing, and operational changes that have occurred in the US retail florist industry over the past five year, and shows florist intention measures for the future (see "About the Florist Industry Report"). One new survey measure included in the 2003 research was the "Age of Owner" of the florist business.

In this reporting, we reveal the current age profile of retail florist businesses in the US, and make comparisons with florist age profiles recently measured in Canada, Germany, and Holland. Survey results reveal that US florist shop owners, on average, are currently older than those in "Old Europe." Results suggest that a substantial turnover in florist shop ownership may be expected in the US over the next ten years. Floral suppliers can use results from the new florist industry report to gain knowledge as to what these potential changes may mean for their business.

The Market Findings

In the florist survey, we asked the florist respondents to "check-off" the age category that represented the age of the owner. Table 1 shows the age distribution for the 1,000+ US florist shops in our sample. The survey results reveal that in the US, the largest group of florist shops (37%) have owners aged 45-54. Only about 6% of florist shops currently have owners under the age of 35, while 26% are aged 55-64, and 11% are aged 65 or older. Thus, more than one-third of florist shops in the US have owners aged 55 or older. This is a substantially large florist shop segment that will likely experience ownership turnover over the next 10 to 15 years, due to retiring florist shop owners.

Table 2 shows the florist age profiles across ten Census regions of the US. The age profiles differ significantly across the US Census regions. Younger florist owner profiles are generally noted in the West North Central, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific regions of the US. Older florist owner profiles are generally shown in the Upper South Atlantic, East North Central, and West South Central regions. These "older" regions will likely show more rapid turnover in florist ownership, and will lead the nation in the generational turnover in florist shop ownership.

Florist Age Profile Comparisons

In our analysis of the florist age profile, we questioned whether the US florist age distribution was skewed in one direction or the other, compared with florist shops in other markets. Fortunately, at Prince & Prince, we could answer these questions, as we had conducted client-sponsored florist research in Canada, Holland, and Germany over the past two years, and had included the "Age of Owner" question in each florist survey. In addition, our clients for the Canada, Holland, and German-market studies had given us permission to publicize the florist age profiles from these privately conducted studies. This allowed us to make public comparisons of our US florist age profile with the profiles of the other three nations.

Table 3 shows the florist age distributions for the US, Canada, Holland, and German studies. The nationwide florist studies in Canada, Holland, and Germany were completed in 2002, while the US florist study was completed this year. Florist shops in Holland reveal the youngest relative age profile, with nearly one-quarter of Holland florist shops surveyed having owners under the age of 35, and only 9% aged 55 or older. Germany shows the second-youngest relative age profile, with about 17% of florist shops surveyed having owners under the age of 35, and about 20% aged 55 or older. Thus, Holland and Germany have about 10-20 percent more florists with owners under the age of 35 than does the US, and both have about 10-20 percent less florists aged 55 or older than does the US. The Canadian florist age profile comes closer to the US in terms of an aging profile, but still shows about 7% fewer florists owners aged 55 or older, compared to the US. Collectively, the florist owner age profiles across the four nations surveyed reveals that the US florist age profile is atypical and the eldest of the four nations. US florist shop owners, on average, are much older than "Old Europe" florist shop owners.


The aging florist profile in the US has implications for fresh and hardgood floral suppliers that market various floral products through the US retail florist channels. A large and more rapid turnover in florist ownership to younger-aged owners in the US will likely result in changing purchasing patterns, supplier loyalties, and florist-marketplace behavior. In our 2003 florist industry report, we segment all study findings (over 200 survey measures) by the age of shop owner to profile the practices and behaviors of these florist-owner groups. Results reveal significant differences in florist product mix, product trends, purchasing behaviors, shop operations, and marketing practices of younger-aged florist owners, compared to their elder counterparts. Suppliers that gain an understanding of the structural florist industry changes that will inevitably occur will be better prepared for the future.

Regional Census Definition. The ten Census regions of the US and the states that comprise each region are defined as the following: New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT), Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA), East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI), West North Central (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD), Upper South Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NC, VA, WV), Lower South Atlantic (FL, GA, SC,), East South Central (AL, KY, MS, TN), West South Central (AR, LA, OK, TX), Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY), and Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA).

About the Florist Industry Report. As a marketing resource for the entire floral industry, Prince & Prince has recently published its updated 2003 report entitled, "Product, Service, and Operational Trends of the US Retail Florist Industry". This 250-page report provides marketing information on retail florist operations, product usage and trends, service offerings, resource allocations, and momentum trends for 85 perishable and 28 non-perishable floral products. The report is based on survey responses from over 1,000 randomly-selected retail florists throughout the US, and numerous trend comparisons are made with the 1998 Prince & Prince florist study. The research spans both floral perishable and non-perishable products. All information is segmented by ten Census regions, urbanization level of the florist market served, age of florist shop owner, and size of the florist business.

Seed monies for the 2003 florist research were provided by the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA), and all WF&FSA members receive a substantial discount off the published price of the report. For more information about the 2003 Retail Florist Industry Report, visit the Prince & Prince web site: www.FloralMarketResearch.com and "click" under "Reports for Sale".

About the Authors. Drs. Tom and Tim Prince, formerly of The Ohio State University, are brothers and co-founders of Prince & Prince, Inc., a leading marketing research specialist in the floral and green plant industries. Prince & Prince has completed more than 50 major marketing research reports for the floral and floral-related industries in the US, and has also conducted floral marketing research in Canada, the United Kingdom, Holland, and Germany. They conceptualize and implement market studies and product tests for floral and green-plant suppliers, floral importers, wholesale florists, retail florists, and floral-industry associations. For more information about their marketing research, contact Prince & Prince, Inc.


Prince & Prince, Inc.  PO Box 2465,  Columbus, OH  43216-2465   

Office: 614-299-4050;  Mobile: 614-264-0939       E-mail: FloralMktResearch@att.net


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