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Design trends in Maine may not sell in Tucson

Trends in our world of consumerism are becoming more fluid and they are also not the same in each region of the United States. Buyers hopefully realize this because it’s an important fact to keep in mind when planning your 2018 buying strategy.

We have so many good trend watch reports out there but what sells in Maine may not sell in Tucson, so remember to interpret the information in relation to your customers’ needs and wants. The general trend theme I see in my travels and at trade shows is “sell high value and upgrades.”

Here are some 2018 national trends to watch:

2017 BQ DutchMasters 2999 V01The floral industry will continue to see loosely formed bouquets in 2018 and lots of field flowers and unique greens. Photo credit Pat Boemer, Lionshead Studio, and Sunshine Bouquet Co.Consumers seem to be comfortable with the back-to-nature theme and similar movements of farm-to-table and organic. Many growers and others in the distribution chain are pushing this, along with the container and gift industry manufacturers.

In the floral industry, we will continue to see loosely formed bouquets and lots of field flowers and unique greens. This category includes Matricaria, Veronica, Scabiosa, Mathiola, Bupleurum, Eryngium and other high-end retail florist quality specimens.

Mainly due to Pinterest and other social media, younger buyers are seeing flowers that are increasingly popular for weddings and other special events. Keep in mind that many of these species do not travel well or, simply by their nature, are not long lasting. The demand is there but they are not like hardy pompoms. Think high value but high shrink.

The industry will have to continually educate the consumer on the availability/seasonality of customized programs and promotions. Education about product features and benefits will stay in the forefront with many growers providing more specialized design and care presentations.

Keep track of the following: highly unusual colors of peonies, dahlias (‘Café Olé’), Lathyrus (sweet peas), anemones, clematis, zinnias, antique hydrangeas and many others. They may be in all the magazines but they are not always the best option for all supermarket customers.

Customization is continuing and almost all the larger providers of floral are creating perceived high-end floral products. This includes value-added packaging, vases and other containers, picks and gift cards, and consumer-ready “drop-in” bouquets.

Many supermarkets are increasingly focusing on private brand and specific signature products.

Indoor plants sales are gaining momentum, yet in a very specific style — succulents, various bromeliads (Tillandsia), new ficus species, and easy-to care-for, long lasting plants in general. These are also being featured in many younger generation-focused catalogs —think Ikea.

Flowering plant category offerings seem to be narrowing, with the exception of long-lasting mainstays like orchids. Many growers and distributors are upgrading these offerings at higher standards, and various new species are gaining momentum as consumers realize that most orchids are easy to take care of.

Feel free to implement some or all of these trending design elements in your floral department this New Year and expect to grow your bottom line.

Happy 2018!

René van Rems is an industry consultant and educator who operates a consulting, marketing and publishing firm in Carlsbad, CA. He can be contacted at Rene@renevanrems.com.