Few industries are as tied to cultural and color trends as the floral industry. As floral leaders and innovators look through 2023 and into 2024, experts recommend three key considerations:
- Special is essential: Consumers love plants and flowers, but in the current economy, they are more careful about where they spend money. Floral offerings must be special and have the “wow” factor.
- As consumers choose where to spend, they’re looking through a lens of creativity and individuality. Offering something that speaks to that will grab their attention.
- Color influences up to 85% of purchases. Color is the face of floral products, including accessories. Producers, marketers, and retailers should not be afraid of going “full-spectrum forward.”
To support its floral and retail members, the International Fresh Produce Association annually partners with the Pantone Color Institute to offer insights on culture and color. Members use this to inform business decisions and marketing strategies. Presented by Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, this year’s event was part of IFPA’s Virtual Town Hall series on March 22: The Art of Living: Exploring New Colorful Realities 2023/2024. Although some VTH sessions are recorded for later viewing, this one is not. Instead, IFPA offers this recap as part of its suite of resources in the full floral portfolio.
Pressman focused on colors and qualities in the presentation.
The world is highly visual, and the language of color offers unique ways to express individualized style. It also reflects what takes place in the macro culture, which is where color and trend come together to play a role. Color influences up to 85% of product purchase decisions, which is why how marketers put colors together – including the containers and accessories – is so important.
The last three years presented challenges to consumers that affected lifestyles, influenced values, and reshaped priorities. Today they are more sensitive to their homes and surroundings, and they want their homes to express their values. The benefit of flowers goes beyond beauty; flowers evoke, provoke, and stoke curiosity.
- Greens: More muddy green tones, mineral greens, medicinally inspired greens (like holistic herbs)
- Blue-greens: Green influences blues in teals
- Blues: Blue is the most beloved and trusted color family worldwide due to its connection to sea and sky. We see paler blues, retro cobalt shades (sometimes highly electric) and deeper cobalt shades, as well as navies. Blue is a key color family for floral – flowers, containers, and vases. Mixing blues – shades and textures – is important.
- Reds: The color of year for 2023 is Viva Magenta – a vibrant red that reflects bravery, fearlessness, optimism, and joy. Powerful and empowering, this color makes a standout statement.
- Prismatic hues: Going beyond the rainbow to an expanded vibrancy level that excites and inspires – energy that flowers can bring
- Sustainability and regenerative design, using existing things, repurposing, or using materials in new ways. Consumers continue to recycle and upcycle and look for companies to do the same. One floral idea showed loofas -- beyond bath – as floral containers or planters. Originality, inventiveness, and the power of imagination are key design components. Reinvention helps grab consumer attention.
- Consumers seek sustenance for the soul as we reconnect. They look for slower rhythms, safe havens, and peaceful spaces. They fill their homes with calming bouquets – lavender is growing in popularity. Self-care continues to be important, and healing plants will grow as well: eucalyptus, aloe vera, spider plant, Boston fern, snake plants, succulents, and more.
- “Nowstalgia” – vintage style – offers escapism and feelings of comfort. Members of Gen Z are fearless decorators. As “thriftfluencers,” they like retro furniture (to save budget) as they revisit the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, making the best of past and present.
- Self-expression: Consumers want to demonstrate their own unique, personal style, and floral has a great opportunity to leverage this trend.
Looking at 2024, Pressman sees a life-affirming outlook, where consumers are ready for good times and great feelings. Colors capture this:
- Reds/pinks: sense of passion, playfulness, energizing
- Oranges: warmth, cheer, humor, fun
- Browns: products that are organic and crafted
- Yellow: radiance, energy, optimism, positivity
- Green: oxygenated, foliage, mineral
- Blue-green: contemporary, escape, adventure
- Blue: aspiration for peace, calm
- Purple: mystical, poetic, intriguing
- Neutrals: nurturing, soft, tactile – luxury, sustainability, longevity
- Gray/silver: elegance, refinement
- Black-and-white: contrasts, pairings of opposites
Trend themes for 2024 can seem contradictory, but Pressman noted that seeking more than one thing is very human: yin-yang, quiet-noisy, subtle-saturated.
- Sustenance: Food, table settings, serving pieces – all contribute to ambiance and mood. Beautifully arranged florals complete the array.
- Replenish: Balance, self-care, meditative, calming. Recuperative and healing. Water (hydration, replenishment, cleansing, etc.).
- Creative mixology: Creativity, individuality, inventiveness, experimentation, imaginative, originality, free-spirited aesthetics.
- Sanctuary: Home, simplified, peaceful, comfort, slowing down, tech-inspired ambiance. High-tech and high-touch homes. Soft futurism.
- Stylist: Universal appeal, lifestyle color approach, fashion influence in interiors, tech-enhanced color, multi-dimensional blues. Influence of fashion and beauty.
- Surrealism: Wild and free, offbeat, fantastical and bizarre, escapism, illogical/quirky/witty, unexpected, uninhibited dream state, playful, virtual reality inspired, new color narratives. For those who dare to be different.
- Scenic: Hybrid color, universal appeal, lifestyle color approach, fashion influence in interiors, tech-enhanced color, multi-dimensional blues.