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Easter floral sales rebound predicted for 2013 holiday

Easter floral sales have been in a downward spiral since the recession began, but perked up in 2010 and should show further improvement this year when sales figures for March 31 are available, according to the consumer research firm Prince & Prince.

Still, the 2010 rebound did not return sales to pre-recession levels, the study released Feb. 28 showed that Easter has lost one-third of its “purchasing power” since 1966. And there are warning signs that floral retailers are getting out-hustled by those who market other products for Easter.

In 2010, coming out of the recession, a survey of 1,280 households who normally make one or more floral purchases a year (an estimated 75 million households nationwide) found that 23 percent of them bought one or more floral products for Easter. That is better than the 21 percent figure for 2007, but below pre-recession numbers of 27 percent in 2000 and 35 percent in 1996.

In 2010, Easter ranked 12th in floral purchases among 24 holidays, events and occasions; it ranked eighth in 1996. An estimated 17 million U.S. households bought floral products for Easter in 2010, but more than 24 million did in 1996.

The study by the firm in Columbus, OH, grouped floral purchases for Easter by geographical regions, household income, consumer age, and presence of children in the household. Titled “Consumer Demographic Trends Lift Floral Purchasing for Easter,” the report found the North Central, South Central and Western regions of the United States showed a rebound in 2010 in Easter floral purchases. The Northeast and South Atlantic showed a decrease or stagnant sales. The household income analysis showed low-income and higher-income families increasing purchases, while middle-income families and highest-income families registered little or no increase.

Across age groups, the rebound in floral purchasing for Easter was broad-based.

The presence of children in the household had a negative effect on household floral purchases for Easter. The study authors suggested households with children are likely to substitute toys, games, candy, etc., for flowers.