With cool and wet weather, the traffic in many stores on Friday, December 4 was much lower than I anticipated. However, with less rain on Saturday, many stores experienced an increase in consumer shopping. By the afternoon of Saturday, December 5, the sun came out and more consumers were out shopping. Poinsettias were seen in many shopping carts and live Christmas trees were moving out at a furious pace.
Walmart focused on high-volume items offering 6-inch, 6.5-inch, 1-gallon, 8-inch and a really nice poinsettia/foliage 12-inch bowl. The 8-inch poinsettia retailing for $9 was an exceptional value, as well as the poinsettia/foliage Bowl at $15. Walmart’s overall product quality from Metrolina Greenhouses was above average with good packaging and well-placed displays.
The biggest challenge Walmart faces is having enough covered selling areas with some stores forced to sell in shade structures and outside areas. Overall, Walmart continues to upgrade its product quality and merchandising that will certainly lead to positive same store sales.
Lowe’s had a huge range of product offerings in the poinsettia category with price points from $2.48 to $29.98. Its glittered poinsettias were the best I have seen this season because enough glitter was applied to make a visual impact at the point of purchase. Overall, product quality was reasonable. I thought Lowe’s could have benefited from having a few more novelty varieties.
Home Depot focused on fewer SKUs this year with an emphasis on 6.5-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch poinsettias, as well as large displays of Mumsettia. The Mumsettia seems to be falling out of favor with the consumer and we observed some where the mum portion was aging and beginning to look shaggy. There did not seem to be a lot of movement on the Ice Punch at $9.99.
Sam’s offered two SKUs that seemed to be moving well and both sizes were excellent quality.
–10-inch retailing at $15.98
–3 to 6-inch retailing at $16.98
Porter’s Nursery is a local independent garden center that offered high-quality poinsettias from American Farms. Poinsettias were well displayed and the prices were very competitive with the national retailers.
Kmart offered only two SKUs–a 6-inch and 8-inch in limited quantities.
We also observed nice orchids at Walmart. The Just Add Iceb brand offered outstanding quality with more flowers than most orchids. They were retailing for $15–a great value.
Although the weather was not great, there seemed to be some fairly good sales velocity for poinsettias. In Walmart, the shelves were more heavily picked than others, indicating the consumer must value their offers. The 8-inch was a great value, and I ended up buying a carload as gifts.
This year, I saw far fewer non-poinsettia items like Christmas cactus, cyclamen, and Elatior Begonias that have been far more prominent in the past several years. The major focus this year seemed to be on sizes that were at $5 or less driven by the consumer’s extreme focus on value.
The only distinct marketing program was the Ice Punch that had some challenges with many bracts almost completely red with little delineation of the bi-color effect. Poinsettias should have a good season as consumers look for value and the supply is more aligned with demand dropping almost 20 percent over the past three years.
It is somewhat surprising poinsettias are rarely positioned as high value gift items with many believing that a large portion are bought for gifting.