Flower delivery companies have emerged as unlikely winners of the pandemic as Americans send blooms to ease stress and connect over cancelled celebrations

AP Photo/Seth WenigAmericans are sending each other flowers because they can’t get together.
  • Flower delivery companies are booming during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On Thursday, 1-800-Flowers reported record revenues and profit growth in its most recent quarter.
  • Sending flowers gives consumers a chance to connect with family and loved ones as they miss out on their usual gatherings because of social distancing, experts say.
  • Research has also pointed to flowers’ ability to reduce stress.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Flower delivery services are thriving in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

1-800-Flowers reported on Thursday record revenues and profit growth in its fiscal fourth quarter of 2020. Total net revenues grew by a record 61.1%, to $US418 million, compared to $US254.9 million for the same quarter last year.

1-800-Flowers delivers flowers and gourmet food gifts from a network of about 6,000 shops across the country. Both Easter and Mother’s Day – typically big occasions for the flower industry – took place in the most recent period. The company also credited its focus on technology, innovation, and customer service for the successful quarter.

Executives also said that new demand created by the pandemic was a major factor. During 1-800-Flowers’ earnings call, CEO Christopher McCann referred to “the need to be socially connected to each other, to maintain relationships, to express ourselves.”

He added that the company has benefited from more consumers “nesting” and “celebrating and expressing themselves more and more around their home.”

The desire to reach out to loved ones from afar is providing a big opportunity for florists across the industry.

Katie Butler, senior vice president at the Society of American Florists, said that sending flowers can help people to celebrate the “missed moments” they would have spent together if not for the pandemic, like birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries.

“I think that flowers are throwing consumers a lifeline of sorts – a way to connect and communicate and truly make an impact on your own or a loved one’s mood in a way that is otherwise not accessible, due to social distancing,” Butler said.

She pointed to 2018 research from the University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health that found that living alongside flowers contributed to reduced levels of stress. Past research from Rutgers and Harvard yielded similar results.

In the US, mental health issues are a growing concern as COVID-19 case rates remain high and general uncertainty about the future intensifies.

“With the increased stress in everyone’s life, flowers are a product that makes people happy. And people are looking for even small ways to spark joy in their days and connect with others,” Butler said.

Florists have traditionally been experts at delivery. Those shops with delivery already set up to sell their wares online were poised for success during the pandemic. At the same time, the market for weddings, conferences, and other events has been hit hard as gatherings continue to be restricted. Florists focused on that area have largely had to pivot.

“We are seeing many local shops’ online sales increase 100% from the prior year,” Gregg Weisstein, co-founder and COO of BloomNation, said. BloomNation is an online marketplace that works directly with about 4,000 local flower shops and independent designers in cities across the country.

“There is an increase in the amount of traffic going online and they are converting at a 15% higher rate than the prior year as shoppers become more comfortable with purchasing online,” Weisstein added.

“We’ve also added a tipping function on the site and have seen a lot of adoption here with over 70% of the orders having a tip, which has shown how people are trying to give back to their local communities during this tough time.”

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