Online or in-store, florists see flat Valentine’s Day sales

Romantics buying flowers for loved ones on Valentine’s Day still prefer to go into brick and mortar stores versus shopping online, according to a new report from MasterCard Canada.

According to MasterCard, the “overwhelming majority” of Canadian consumers prefer shopping in person, with 81 per cent of respondents saying they prefer to go in-store for flower purchases compared to 10 per cent online.

But despite MasterCard’s report, local florists say they are using the power of the internet to help Valentine’s Day deliveries.

According to longtime florist Darlene Payne, while the number of orders hasn’t changed much over the last few years, more customers are placing their orders online or over the phone.

“People like the surprise of having them delivered so they don’t really care about the [$10] delivery fee,” the manager of Westdale Florist Ltd on Dundas Street West told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

The MasterCard survey also said that a majority of online floral purchases are made at the last minute thanks to rush or next-day delivery services offered by online retailers.

Regardless of how they get into your loved one’s arms, Payne said that a dozen red roses remains the customary favourite for the holiday.

She also said that after 31 years in the business, questions about price never go away. “It’s always, ‘how come?’” Payne said. “They think it’s the flower shops that are causing the problem but in reality it’s based on demand. We just do what we have to do.”

In the early part of Payne’s career as a floral designer business appeared to be busier because more people were in the store. “We had lineups, but now we have people booking over the phone,” she said.

Being part of the online floral wire service companies Florists’ Transworld Delivery and Teleflora doesn’t hurt either. “I would say 40 per cent  of online orders are from new customers,” said Payne. “Everything is done online these days. Everybody likes going online and looking, choosing and shopping that way.”

A new Scotiabank Facebook poll shows many Canadians are more financially conscious this year about how much they’re going to spend. The Valentine’s Day poll found most Canadians are either not spending money this year on the holiday, making a gift or spending $100 or less.

The major Canadian bank recommends planning ahead, creating a “romance fund,” being creative with handmade gifts and consulting a financial adviser about a long-term budget to prevent overspending on holidays.

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