Poinsettia sales trends

March 21, 2012
Written by Myron Love
It was not a great season for poinsettia sales last fall.

4587-Greens-are-y-  
Greens are gaining in popularity.
PHOTO COURTESY MELHEM SAWAYA


 
“Big box stores continue to control the market,” says Gino Sardelli, general manager of Pepiniere, Piazza and Gentile Inc., a nearly 50-year-old Montreal-area garden centre. “Our poinsettia sales are shrinking further every year.”

Eric Voogt (Westcan Greenhouses in Langley, B.C.) reports that because of competition from the big box stores, there are fewer poinsettia growers than there used to be. “The box stores carry the price,” Voogt notes. “Independent garden centre retailers have a hard time competing.”

He reports that his experience in pricing for the most part over the Christmas season was in the $2.50 to $2.75 range for 6” plants. “We had one week where the price went up to $4.50 a plant,” he says. “Other than that, the season was pretty dismal.”

While not as disappointed, Priscilla Mah (Central Botanical Gardens in Saskatoon) does say sales were also a little down in 2011.

FUNDRAISER SALES: SOME WERE UP, OTHERS DOWN
Chad Labbe, vice-president of Shelmerdine Garden Centre in Winnipeg, says sales were about on par with the 2010 figures. “Our fundraiser sales were up, though,” he adds.

4587-Holes-Greenhouses  
Red still the most popular colour
 
In the Ottawa area, poinsettia sales from fundraisers at Peter Rofner’s Richmond Nurseries were down compared to 2010. “Our sales to the general public were pretty good, though,” Rofner says. “All in all, we did well enough.”

While the market pricing was so-so for Tumilo’s Garden Centre in Toronto, the major contributor to poor sales was a fire that destroyed most of its indoor displays. As a result, Aldo Tumilo reports, his company’s poinsettia sales were just 40 per cent of what was sold in 2010.

Back out west, Jim Hole (Hole’s Greenhouse and Gardens Ltd. in St. Albert, just outside Edmonton) reports that while 2011 poinsettia sales were about the same as the year before, he sees a trend to bigger sizes. “There is no growth in the sale of 6” and 6-½” plants,” he notes. “People want bigger plants.”

Hole’s will probably produce more 8” plants than 6” plants for next Christmas season.

Gino Sardelli agrees customers want larger poinsettias while Aldo Tumilo reports his 12” plants were selling well.

CONSUMERS WANTED ‘SPLASHIER’ GIFT ITEMS
“People are looking for something slightly different, something a little splashier to give as gifts,” Jim Hole observes. “The pricing is better for more decorated poinsettias.”

For something a little different, Eric Voogt says some West Coast growers tried marketing ardisia for Christmas. “People liked the tropical plant,” he says, “but, at $15 a plant, the price point was a little too high.”

Of course, red remains the most popular colour by far, with white and pink trailing. Chad Labbe reports some interest this past season in “White Glitter.” Priscilla Mah found that “Ice Punch” was second to red for the second year in a row.

“We sell a lot of novelty colours, too,” says Jim Hole, “but red and white still predominate.”

Most growers and garden centres are expecting to handle about the same number of poinsettias this year as they did in 2011.


Myron Love is a freelance writer and photographer in Winnipeg.

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