METHODS AND RESULTS OF COORDINATED INQUIRIES INTO THE MARKET FOR CUTFLOWERS AND POTPLANTS IN WESTERN GERMANY
No doubt, the flower market has been extremely favoured by the rapid increase of the per caput income, the income elasticity of flower demand being much higher than that of food, especially with high level incomes. Though food consumption may become more sophisticated with higher incomes, it is limited by the capacity of the stomach. On the other hand, flower consumption may be extended to a far higher level, both in quantity and quality. Therefore, surplus production of other agricultural and horticultural crops tends to increase the cultivation of flowers as a crop less affected with surplus problems. Consequently competition of producers seems to be very strong today and will be even more so in the future.
A further basic feature of the flower market lies in the fact, that flower consumption may be substituted by a great number of other items suitable as a present or as to decorate the home, as f. i. sweets, candles, pottery, artificial flowers etc. Under these circumstances, marketing activities of the firms acting within this market must be very thorough in order to strengthen their own competitive position and in order to assure and to enlargen market outlets for flowers to the disadvantage substituting items.
There are two basic fields of marketing activities. The first concept concerns the market structure, i.e. the number, size and behaviour of the firms involved in the production, transport and distribution of the produce, the market institutions as f. i. wholesale markets, cooperatives etc. The market structure provides the framework within which marketing takes place. The second approach of marketing activities starts with the produce to be sold, its discrimination by brands or other means, its price, the assortment to be sold, advertising campaigns etc. Both concepts are narrowly linked with each other. Maybe, market structures must be altered in order to streamline the flow of the product from the producer to the consumer and to be able to make the best use of marketing