Like many other industries, the floristry industry is witnessing rapid evolution and disruption with evolving farming practices, consumer demands and technology innovation. From an increasing focus on sustainability and local sourcing to biophilic floral design trends, this research report highlights the key floristry industry trends and statistics.

The meaning of floristry

The floristry industry encompasses production and sale of flowers and includes flower care, floral display, flower arranging or floral design, merchandising, and flower delivery. Wholesale florists sell flowers in bulk to retailers and other professionals involved in the trade. Retail florists sell fresh flowers and related services and products to consumers.

The terms “floristry” and ‘floral design” are often considered to be synonyms and are used interchangeably. Floral design refers to the art of creating flower displays and arrangements in various containers or making bouquets, corsages, wreaths, boutonnieres and other beautiful compositions using cut flowers, ornamental grasses, herbs, foliage and other materials.

Floristry differs from both horticulture and floristics. Floristics is a branch of phytogeography involved with the study and distribution of plant species in different geographic areas. Horticulture is a branch of agriculture and involves commercial cultivation of garden crops and ornamental plants.

Global market growth trends

Despite the pandemic, the overall picture for the global floral market looks rosy. A strong growth is predicted for the floristry industry across many geographic areas. While the demand for cut flowers and flower bouquets continues unabated, the shift is towards online sales of flowers.

According to a research report from Research and Markets, the global market for cut flowers in 2019 was US $ 34, 347. 23 million and is expected to grow to $ 45,876.50 million by 2027.  The computed annual growth rate (CAGR) for the cut flowers market is pegged at 3.9 percent between 2020 and 2027.

Another market impact survey estimates a CAGR of 5 percent in the period from 2020 to 2027 for the cut flowers industry. In the U.S. the sector is slated to grow to $7.9 billion, while in China, the growth is expected to be at 7.6 percent CAGR.

The other important geographic markets that will register noteworthy growth, according to this report, are Canada and Japan at 4.4 and 2.7 percent respectively in the same period. In Europe, the country that tops the cut flowers market is Germany at 3.1 percent CAGR.

The combined market for ornamental plants and flowers (grown exclusively for landscape design, houseplants and for floral arrangements) is set to register a 6.3 percent growth to reach $57.4 Billion in 2024.

The US and the European Union are the top buyers of cut flowers while the top growers and exporters are Netherlands, Kenya, Ecuador, Colombia and Ethiopia.

Netherlands has continued to retain its position as the world’s top producer and exporter of cut flowers and flower bouquets in line with its 200 year old legacy. In 2019, the country accounted for 40 percent of global cut flowers export volume with Kenya, Columbia, Ecuador and Ethiopia being the other top exporters in 2019.

                       The top five countries with highest cut flowers export revenue ( 2019)

 Netherlands$4.6 billion48.9%
 Columbia$1.4 billion14.9%
 Ecuador$879.8 million9.3%
 Kenya$709.4 million7.5%
 Ethiopia$241.3 million2.6%

Market outlook based on flower segments

The top five cut flowers that are cultivated and exported are rose, lily, carnation, gerbera and chrysanthemum. While Netherlands is the top producer of tulips and peonies, the leading producers of roses and carnations are Ecuador and Columbia respectively. Thailand leads in production of orchids.

Rose segment will register a 5.8 percent CAGR to reach US $14.3 billion, the carnation segment is expected to grow at 5.1 percent over the next seven years.

The lilium (herbaceous flowering plants that grow from bulbs and produce prominent flowers, such as the true lily) segment is slated to grow at 3.8 percent with the main contributors being  USA, Canada, China, Europe and Japan. The lilium segment in regional markets in the Asia Pacific region led by India, Australia and South Korea, is expected to reach $5.5 billion in the same time frame.

Floristry industry in the US

The US continues to be the top buyer of cut flowers while there is a significant shift towards local sourcing.

As per a 2019 estimate, there are 15,307 retail florist businesses in the US that are dependent on wholesalers and growers for their stocks. While flower farms in the US increased to 6386 in 2018 from 5,913 in 2015, 81 percent of cut flowers are imported from Ecuador and Colombia. A 2018 study by Ashaki et al reveals that the market size of the floral industry in the U.S. was $11 billion with retail revenue accounting for $6.9 billion. Revenue from online sales was an estimated $4.1 billion.

Roses are the most popular flowers year-round and account for anywhere from 30 to 35 percent of all cut flowers sold in the US each year. However, only one percent of these flowers are grown in the US while a majority is imported. The most imported flowers apart from roses are carnations, Gerbera, tulips, carnations and lilies.

In the U.S, the top two states with floriculture crops are California and Florida. The other top producers in the country include Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, South Carolina according to AgMRC (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center). The U.S. has traditionally imported a large majority of cut flowers sold in the country. Fresh-cut flowers’ imports in October of 2020 amounted to $ 97.17 million.

The biggest floral events in each year are typically Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah and  Mother’s Day. These events account for more than 70 percent of the revenue floristry businesses receive each year. Anniversaries and birthdays account for 24 percent of revenue in the floristry industry.

Flower production data by state in the US

76% from California
6% – Washington
4% – New Jersey
4% – Oregon
10% – other states combined.

Key challenges and opportunities

Although consumer demand is on the rise, the floristry industry is facing multiple challenges. The floral gifting market is going through a range of innovations, the most prominent being delivery. An IBISWorld report highlights that the florists industry in the U.S. faced increasing external competition over the last five years. In place of industry operators, consumers increasingly prefer to buy fresh flowers from supermarkets and e-commerce channels due to favorable pricing and convenience of shopping. Additionally, the COVID-19 outbreak has further strengthened the popularity of the online flowers industry.

Major flower producers are acquiring farms while many industry players are adopting vertical integration to increase profitability. Many florists bypass wholesalers to directly meet the need of consumers while network services are bypassing florists. Farms are marketing directly to consumers.  The internet and ecommerce era has shaped new trends in the floristry industry in terms of innovative business models, educated decisions, comparative shopping and experimentations with creativity.

While websites are predominantly used in the floral gifting market in the US, distinctive new models of working are gaining momentum. The online space being conducive to innovation, the new norm is the on-demand model.

With the concepts of ‘farm to table’ and ‘farm to door’ gaining traction, a key trend in the floral industry is on-demand production. While the demand for complex bouquet flowers is on the decline, the movement is towards cut flowers and Japanese style of flower arrangements. New entrants to the U.S. floral markets in the coming years could well be Nepal and Japan.

Floral design trends for 2020-2021

The spotlight in 2020 in terms of floral designs was on neutral shades and soft colour palettes. With consumers increasingly recognising the importance of organic produce and sustainability, floral trends followed suit with accent on earthy and neutral tones.  The health benefits of plants and flowers such as relieving anxiety and stress or boosting mood, is also the focus point for florists and consumers alike. Wellbeing bouquets made an appearance that are specifically designed to promote good health.

Floral industry forecast

A report titled Floral Gifting Market in US – Industry Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025 highlights the other key trends in the floral industry:

  • There is a strong shift towards sourcing locally grown flowers given the shorter lead times and sustainability. More and more supermarkets, florists and wire services are tying up with local flower producers.
  • Wellness is being linked increasingly to flowers owing to their  therapeutic value and biophilic design.
  • Flat packed boxes for flower delivery is another opportunity that many players are leveraging. These are flat cardboard boxes that can fit through doors or standard letterboxes to ensure safe delivery of flowers. Featuring dual locking tabs and ventilation holes, these flat boxes are postally efficient.

The floral trend forecast for 2021 is based on research into consumer preferences for floral designs:

  •  Sustainability: This is a key trend in the EU as well as in the US. Floral designers are repurposing flowers while using dried flowers. Consumers and florists increasingly prefer sustainable containers and packaging while they are looking at sustainable alternatives for floral foam.
  • Foliage – Bleached and dyed foliage, painted greens, and pampas grass are trending for 2021.
  • Accessories: Sustainability is also the key theme that is influencing the choice of accessories in floral arrangements. In the U.S and EU, wood and leather containers are being used increasingly.
  • Color and style:  The top floral styles revolve around three color schemes of blush, white, blush and greenery. Floral arrangements that use fresh and dried  flowers are gaining popularity while foam is being replaced by netting and tubes.
  • Micro weddings with floral designs -With the pandemic leading to postponement of events, at home weddings was a rising trend in 2020, that is expected to continue into 20201. Micro-weddings in 2021 will be celebrated with affordable yet trendy floral designs.

Biophilic design:  With the pandemic moving workplaces into homes, multifunctional spaces are key design trends for 2020 as well as 2021.  Biophilic designs with natural elements such as plants and fresh flowers are increasingly preferred by households for enhancing overall health.