Lara Magraner (Vivercid): “Urban plant stores have created a new habit in citizens”

This week in #hablaelcomite, Lara Magraner, gerente del vivero valenciano Vivercid, talk with Iberflora on the current situation of the sector at national and international level, on the changes in habits as a result of the pandemic and on expectations for Iberflora 2021.

Vivercid es un vivero valenciano líder en la producción de planta ornamental desde hace más de 50 years.

En sus instalaciones, with una superficie de 20 hectares of protected cultivation and 500 hectáreas más en plantas cultivadas al aire libre, producen planta mediterránea ornamental, cítricos, fruit, aromatic, coníferas, planta de interior y de temporada, las cuales disfrutamos visitando su espectacular stand en Iberflora desde hace décadas.

Members of the Professional Flower Association, Plants and Horticultural Technology Valencia (Asfplant), they also hold the vice-presidency of the recently founded Association of Ornamental Plant Marketers (ACPO).

The good sales campaign that the green sector is experiencing in recent months has caused a real 'boom' in Vivercid, and your manager, Lara Magraner, tells us about the sensations that are being lived in the nursery: "It's been a tsunami!! Demand woke up sooner than usual in Spain, although also in Europe, in February we were at demand levels of a usual March and in March trade flow records have been broken. And although the benefits are something else, the truth is that the dynamics of the sector have been seen, Thought, Reinforced. The plant has risen points in the shopping basket of spaniards, something that was already clearly seen after the start of the State of Alarm in 2020. In Spain the garden centers have been demanding plant with great intensity and have remained so until May (for now). The assessment is very positive because we needed as a sector to recover energy after last spring. Another thing is that demand has outpaced supply in many of the products and that can have negative effects from production readjustments."

The current situation of the national green sector is also being felt in other European countries: "In the case of exports we have experienced exactly the same thing despite the different situations in France, Germany, Holland or UK... We are sure that the Brexit has had consequences on demand and the sale to the UK has not been desired; nevertheless, the intensity of commercial operations has also been repeated and these have been advanced in time... We have to see how the campaign of the countries that work later in the year by temperature ends. Now the important thing, both in Spain and in Europe, what keeps us off, is what will happen to the trend of demand in the next campaign, that is, what the "new normal" of the sector will look like."

And meanwhile, in the nursery they continue to work on the development and growth of their product lines, incorporating new species and varieties and intuiting the trends that will predominate in the market in the next season: "Vivercid is very focused on the growth of the range of shrub and shrub flowering plants adapted to the Mediterranean and continental climate of Spain and on the consolidation of the indoor plant. In these groups there are many species that we are incorporating, but the most important thing is that they are very focused on the garden center spanish".

We can't, however, avoid asking about the great changes that the sector has experienced in recent months, a change of trend so great that the question is, almost, compulsory: "The pandemic has blown up a movement that has been observed in the last few months of the 2019 and first of the 2020. The movement is cultural and comes from before the 2020. It deals with the enhancement of the plant and the flower as a fundamental element for the well-being of individuals and families. Caring for the Environment, the need and love for green are in the collective ideology and, the younger generations, with its ability to mass communication through social networks, have made the landscape completely change. And this we think will be a trend that will stay for many years.. It's a real gift to society. It would be a shame if this green movement were associated with the pandemic only because the extreme situation we have suffered has caused demand to skyrocket., that the need for the product skyrockets. We think that the post-Covid era will normalize demand somewhat downwards but that at the same time, will be in higher positions than the pre-Covid situation."

Another fundamental change in recent years, It has been, for many, the rejuvenation of the usual profile of the consumer of flowers and plants, selfless, to a large extent, of the spread of the green world through social networks. For Lara Magraner, “The social network user, generally younger than the main profile of traditional garden centers, is new and adds to the existing. How social media has such a great power of penetration, new consumers in one case and those who have changed their shopping habits in another, users from the 20 up to the 50/55 years, appear in sales channels also new and different. Online sales with great force but also proximity stores in small and medium-sized cities and gardening shops and plants in larger cities are important channels. The expansion of demand encompasses new consumers and new points of sale that are consolidating rapidly. Urban stores are fundamental and completely different from traditional florists. Although it seemed that they made less noise than online sales and large supermarkets, urban stores we think have been very important during the pandemic and have created a new habit in citizens. This phenomenon, this new habit, I think it is one of the most important things that has happened in the sector in recent years and it is going to have consequences in many aspects of the trade in flowers and plants.. Large supermarkets also have a great marketing power and also influence, but I think they have a buyer profile., or that it is a different type of purchase than the previous ones."

From Vivercid we are accustomed to the great surprises in the different editions of Iberflora, and this year, we are certainly looking forward to being surprised again with everything that the nursery prepares for the contest. Lara Magraner is clear about this: "It won't be, it is felt and spoken in the sector. We need to see each other's faces, view products, qualities, Information, keep living and moving forward. If nothing happens with the pace of vaccination and the evolution of Covid, Iberflora 2021 it could be the event of the year in Spain and I think it can also have a very good foreign presence given the lack of plant that has occurred in Europe. There will be people who will want to secure supplies by spring 2022."