Mother’s Day 2019 – For Better or For Worse?
by Molly Alton Mullins, WF&FSA Executive Vice President
After each major floral holiday, WF&FSA surveys its membership to learn how business went and if profitability met, and hopefully exceeded, predictions and expectations. Some years, the results are not great, when bad weather hits or specific products are in high demand and simply not enough inventory is available. Other years, WF&FSA members are feeling the love and have estimated overall sales for the reminder of the year to be strong. So how was Mother’s Day 2019? Overall, really good.
Wholesalers Were Pleasantly Surprised
While 50 percent of respondents said the holiday turned out “as they expected,” a full 30 percent rated the holiday as “better than expected.” Compared to 2018, this is 5 percent higher and overall 54 percent of respondents said sales were up 5 – 20 percent. One respondent stated, “less volume but more margin,” and only 15 percent responded sales were down, and the majority of that was less than 5 percent.
Flowers Were a Great Quality, But Expensive
And even though some cited weather as limiting crop production, overall, respondents were very pleased with the quality of their flowers, with 37 percent stating they were “very satisfied,” and 43 percent responding they were “satisfied.” However, prices were up, according to 58 percent of respondents, and only 5 percent said flower prices went down. Overall, WF&FSA members ordered what they knew they needed and not more, with 76 percent stating they were sold out, or nearly sold out. Last year, only 5 percent of respondent stated they were sold out, and this year almost 11 percent responded in that manner. Buyers are being cautious, and that is reflective in the survey comments.
Freight Costs Continue to Rise and Mother Nature Affects Everyone
Across the board, freight costs are not going down. A total of 32 percent of respondents said freight costs were “much higher” in 2019 compared to 2018, and an additional 35 percent said it was “a little bit higher.” Virtually no one responded costs were going down, which was also the case in 2018, so expect this trend to continue. Adverse weather and intense rain approaching the holiday also made many product types scarce and in higher demand, which made many respondents have to scramble to fill their orders.
Despite Some Challenges, Profitability Looks Good
Despite a declining wholesaler base and concerns about tariffs and other regulations, most respondents have a rosy outlook toward the year ahead. Fifty percent expect sales to be up for the remainder of 2019, and 53 percent expect overall company profitability to be higher than expected for the year. However, many respondents don’t attribute this growth to an increase in customers, as much as they do to better company management. One wrote, “We expect sales and profits to rise primarily due to management actions [and not] a strong market. In general, I expect market conditions to be flat.”
So, while the Mother’s Day holiday wasn’t perfect, with proper planning and a watchful eye on margins, WF&FSA members fared better than they expected. Hopefully wedding season is strong for everyone involved in the business so growth continues. You can read the full survey results here and please offer your comments on the holiday and your experience below!
Molly Alton Mullins is Executive Vice President of WF&FSA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-940-6360.