20 Things we Learnt at Vision - Part 1


Twenty things we learnt at the 2020 Vision conference... what will 2016 bring?

Last year's 2020 Vision conference was met with phenomenal praise from florist delegates who went home feeling truly impassioned and inspired to change the way they do business. After a whole day jam-packed with debate and discussion we couldn't share every single detail, but we've picked 20 insights, quotes, figures and interesting ideas to share with you.

To book your ticket to this year's conference which takes place on April 17 in Leicester, visit

Here's part one of our 20 things we learnt at 2020...


1Caroline Marshall-Foster kicked-off last year's conference with key industry stats, for example, in 1995 florists had 44% of market share, supermarkets had 20% and the mysterious 'others' took 36%. Today florists see just 30%, supermarkets take a whopping 60% while 'others' have 10%. However, it's not as bad as you might think... See her latest editorials and book a ticket to Vision '16 for why!



22BUT things are changing, Caroline continued. Consumers love to buy locally. This trend is evidenced by the influx of 'local' supermarkets like Tesco Metro and Little Waitrose as they attempt to match local offerings but without the square footage to fit floral displays like florists can.



33Caroline explained that there's loads of room for opportunity, for example, making the most of self-purchases. Her figures showed that people buy flowers for themselves 17 times a year at an average spend of £8.20. That means you could be seeing the same regular customer 17 times in a year if you offer the right products and service.



44There's also still loads of opportunity in gift flowers. The stats showed that people buy flowers for other people 1 or 2 times a year at an average spend of £12 - £25. Take advantage of these customers making sure they choose you for every recipient.



55Florists should think globally but act locally. Caroline's survey showed that florists claim to need most help with marketing, so she offered Flowerona and The Girls Mean Business* as excellent tools. However she added that whilst social media is a brilliant platform for promotion, many florists spend far too long faffing on Facebook and not enough time concentrating on targeting local people living nearby.

*Founder Claire Mitchell is speaking at Vision '16!


66Ian Finlayson of Practical Solutions International (ex-Sainsbury's) spoke on insider supermarket tactics. He explained that, however boring it may sound, the most essential aspect to supermarket flower supply is an effective cool-chain. Flowers will last half as long at 20°C than they will at 10°C which means rapid cooling and speed to market are absolutely essential for selling supermarket flowers.



77Ian stressed that clean buckets are key! Every flower has its own recommended post-harvest solution for each stage of its journey. Because of this incredibly strict care and cooling process from grower to consumer, supermarkets are able to increase their flowers vase life guarantee from 10 days to 16 days.



8Ian explained that one of the keys to supermarket success is their ethical trade with growers. When supermarkets started buying directly from growers they were met by negative NGO campaigns targeting poor working and environmental conditions. So in a bid to improve their reputation, supermarkets started buying sustainable flowers and plants – switching growers or pressuring their current growers into sustainability thanks to campaigning and demand from consumers.



99Next up to speak was Paul Poelstra, founder of the Flowerweb portal, and he displayed a graph detailing retail shares in cut flower sales across Europe. It showed the differences in sales stats between florists and supermarkets for a range of different countries and sadly, the market share of flower sales held by supermarkets in the UK was distinctly larger than anywhere else.



100However Paul was pleased to announce that thanks to new methods of online trading, the development of the auction clock, and changes in marketing methods – for example grower groups forming in order to market themselves from the top of the chain – florists and growers have more power than ever.


 Stay tuned for part two where we'll share the next ten industry insights!