N. Hofman
In the past decade flower consumption has very substantially increased in most West-European countries. Factors that have had an important bearing on this development are both increasing prosperity and the increase in the urban population. The parallel expansion of flower production can partly be attributed to favourable business results stemming from this increasing demand. Another important influence on this expansion was also the fact that business in related horticultural sectors was considerably less favourable. Both in the Netherlands and in other countries, particularly in Italy, many vegetable growers (in the open and under glass) have switched over to flower production.

This has resulted in production growing faster than demand and consequently in a tendency for prices of nearly all important floricultural products to fall in the last few years. This has in turn resulted in strong pressures on the part of the producers to develop increased sales through the creation of new markets for flowers. What is meant by the 'creation of new markets' can best be explained if we first divide the consumer market for flowers into two sectors, each fundamentally different from the other, namely:

  1. the "necessity" market.
  2. the "impulse" market.

ad a. Under the present circumstances most specialized flowershops have been adapted to basically serve the "necessity" market. In this market, in spite of the price, the consumer needs or wants flowers.
In other words, in this market demand is rather inelastic.

ad b. Other outlets on the retail level mainly serve another type of market, characterized by the fact that in this market flowers are no necessity to the buyers.
In this type of market, price and ready availability are important factors, affecting the buying decision of the consumer.
Buyers in this market are people who are returning to their own homes or who are going to see a good friend or relatives and at the last moment when they see flowers offered for sale, get the idea of brightening their homes or surprising their friends with a bunch of flowers.
Demand in this market is rather elastic.

By the 'creation of new markets' we mean the development of the impulse market. This market is already important in various parts of Western-Europe (the Netherlands, Scandinavian Countries, some parts of Western-Germany, Switzerland), but in other areas practically non-existent.

Hofman, N. (1972). FLOWER SALES THROUGH NON-TRADITIONAL OUTLETS. Acta Hortic. 25, 109-118
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1972.25.9

Acta Horticulturae