2020 is the year with no comparison unless you are 102 and remember the toll the 1918 pandemic took on your business. Just as a tornado’s massive destruction, or a tsunami’s wave of terror causes temporary upheaval -on a worldwide scale- so does a worldwide pandemic. However, results of WF&FSA’s 2020 Mother’s Day Survey proved that resilience and optimism shine through.
80 percent of respondents said the holiday was “better than expected” while a little more than 10 percent rated “less than expected.” With some respondents having no idea, or “low expectations,” as far as sales and some stating that “just coming back to work after not having any sales in March,” the results of the holiday were overall uplifting. Respondents surveyed said selling out of flowers, being pleased about the quality of the flowers and being optimistic is the takeaway for a season that has no comparison.
“We prepared for half sales as a normal holiday and actually did about 70%,” said one respondent.
“From close to zero sales in March to 40% for holiday,” said another.
After being shut down and having the country in a lockdown of some sort, wholesalers were unsure of what to expect as a result of COVID-19. Would product be available? Would there be enough flights to ship product? Would customers still place orders? Yet the virus that has single-handedly done more to the world than any other recent catastrophe continues to amaze. There was no unanimous COVID-19 factor that stood out. Ironically, the wholesalers’ perspective on sales fared no differently than previous years despite a worldwide pandemic. WF&FSA members were still concerned about the lack/not enough wedding orders, a decrease in sales from years past and limited cash flow – concerns that happen every year.
The survey posed the question - What is the single biggest COVID-19 factor that impacted your company's Mother's Day performance?
"Uncertainty,” a few mentioned.
"Flower availability once we saw that it was better than anticipated."
"Shops closed," and "Not knowing the demand for the week until mid-week. We had to enter the week after shutdown and three very slow weeks - no way to know what to bring in for fresh product," and “limited staff,” were mentioned as well.
Comparatively to years past, respondents noted sales were down. Yet, when you are shut down for a month with no business sales happening, that's an expected response. However, 20 percent of respondents said their sales were up while 20–40 percent stated that sales were down.
Factor in the answers to:
Were your freight charges higher this year than in 2019? 25 percent responded Up.
How were your Mother's Day flower prices compared to 2019? 33 percent responded Up.
And the overall sentiment that respondents were unsure if they were going to be able to open until about mid-week, having any kind of flower sale business was welcome.
The lack of weddings being planned, the uncertain future of when events will occur, and how to get more flowers into people's homes now that they will be spending so much time inside are just some of the challenges that wholesalers face. There’s also the questions: Will there be enough product? and Will there be demand and how much of a demand?
The survey posed: What worries you the most about your business' financial future? (limited staff, lower sales, less events/wedding business, supply chain interruptions, etc.).
All of the above
Yet, take a look at this graphic:
48 percent responded: SOLD OUT
So, while 2020's Mother’s Day holiday, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, was an anomaly for sure, WF&FSA members fared better than they expected. They didn’t purchase as much product as previous years, but did fare well, all things considering. There are challenges ahead but just like the soil rejuvenates after a tornado, the sun shines after a tsunami, flowers will continue to be sold. You can read the full survey results here and please offer your comments on the holiday and your experience below!
Pam Morrison is Communications Manager of WF&FSA. She can be reached at email@example.com or 410-940-6358.