Luxury has different meanings for different people. To some consumers, luxury goods provide a means to a better lifestyle, while others adapt luxury goods to their existing lifestyle. Riding on this wave, the luxury floral gifting industry has evolved with the ever-changing interests of the consumers.
From buying red roses at a nearest florist to handpicking imported lilies and delivering bouquets with personal messages at midnight, the floral gifting industry has evolved with the ever-changing consumer interests. Today, as occasions to buy flowers have multiplied, so has the spending capacity of a consumer, who wouldn’t mind spending as much as even Rs 10,000 for a bunch of flowers. And it’s no surprise that for a country which celebrates every special occasion with flowers, the luxury floral gifting occupies about 30% of the market share in the gifting ecosystem.
According to Brandzstorm India MD Ujjval Saraf, luxury is no longer a status symbol in India, but has become a viable lifestyle for a vast majority. And global brands need to evolve quickly and learn to adapt within the local environment.
“Luxury is the new-found love of the Indian retail sector. Aspirational consumers with disposable incomes are the target, and the sector is growing at a rapid pace, thanks to international luxury brands setting up their stores across the country. Over the last decade, the Indian luxury market has been in the spotlight for global luxury brands with a growing presence. The Indian luxury market, valued at about US$ 18.5 billion at the end of 2016, has the potential to cross US$ 100 billion mark over the next 7-8 years,” he says.
While luxury gifting has picked up pace in India, premium floral gifting alone is pegged at $3 billion, says India’s latest entry to the luxury floral industry Interflora’s CEO Tarun Joshi. He explains, “There are three key occasions for which people buy luxury gifts and luxury flowers- festivals, personal occasions like birthdays and anniversaries and corporate gifting. About 24 lakh people are online every day just to buy gifts for their near ones. Luxury floral gifting alone accounts to 30% of the total gifting ecosystem.”
Interflora, an international brand, recently opened its doors to Indian market and the online gifting portal is available in Delhi, Mumbai and soon in Bengaluru. While floral gifting has been a traditional market with a lot of importance given to touch and feel, the knowledge about flowers among consumers is changing, which is giving heels to the luxury floral industry, says Joshi.
“Earlier, bouquets in India meant roses, lilies and sometimes carnations. Now, the consumer is aware of international variety of orchids, imported lilies and others. Also, they are realizing the importance of the longevity of premium flowers. Most of our flowers stay for minimum 5 days and can live up to 12 days under suitable weather conditions,” he stresses.
It’s not only the quality that these florists assure, but they also go an extra mile to ensure that the flowers are arranged the way you like them, with the combinations of your choice and at a given angle. Joshi highlights that although India has a largest consumer base, floral gifting has not been treated as lifestyle product and floral options are not available according to the seasonality, which is a major gap in the industry.
Joshi also highlights that the consumer who is willing to spend a minimum Rs 2,000 on a bouquet is more aware of life, colour combinations, high quality packing and vibrancy of flowers. “Red and white is no longer the preferred colour code for flowers and importance is given to packaging to make the flowers look like high quality product,” he says.
Taking the market forward, Interflora is all set to join hands with a grocery supply chain and will soon debut in retail markets and shopping malls.
Traditional stores flourish
The floral industry is mostly unorganized and organized brands constitute to about less than 5 per cent. While Interflora is open for offline retailing in malls, another luxury brand FernsNPetals is content with traditional outlets in busy areas with high footfalls. “We are not present in any mall and we do not wish to also. Our stores are accessible to anybody who is on the road and just feels like picking up flowers. We have a loyal customer base and we deliver to their convenience,” said FernsNPetals VP ( Retail) Anil Sharma.
With increasing demand for floral gifting online, the industry experts believe that convergence of offline and online presence is the way forward for the luxury floral industry.