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Floristry Market Report

The UK market for cut flowers and floristry products was estimated to be worth £929m in 1997, up from £868m the previous year.

Specialist florists still account for the majority of sales in 1996, they sold 44% of all flowers and arrangements by value. The fastest growing sector is supermarket sales, which have now moved on from plain bunches to bouquets, arrangements and flowers by order. These currently take 28% of value sales, although much more by volume.

Specialist florists are typically `micro-businesses' 77% employ fewer than five people, 64% have an annual turnover of less than £100,000 and there are only a dozen chains of any size in the market, the majority being independent shops. The largest groups are the relay services, such as Interflora, which are membership organisations.

Interflora is the largest organisation in the market, turning over more than £11m. However, the largest company in the market is Flying Flowers, a mail order business based in the Channel Islands, which also has other interests, including retail nursery.

59% of flowers, by value, are bought as gifts or for personal use. There are also distinct markets for corporate arrangements (for example at conferences, hotels and restaurants) and for personal ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals.

Telephone and distance ordering through relay systems already accounts for 25% of the market. However, it is anticipated that new services being offered through major supermarket chains, which benefit from consumer perceptions of quality and value, will develop this sector further, raising its share to 30% by 2001. There is also a small, but developing Internet sector.

The future prospects for the industry are for overall growth, but retail florists may struggle to maintain their share of the market. Although flowers are becoming more affordable and fashionable, small individual stores will have to consistently upgrade both quality and service to match the variety or quality offered by mass-marketing organisations.

Key Note forecasts that sales of cut flowers will be worth £1.19bn by the year 2001.

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