U.S. flower industry gears up for Valentine’s Day

Posted On 05 Feb 2014
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atmosphere_valentine_coupleMIAMI, USA: US-based floral wholesalers and florists are all praying that it gets the bad weather out of its system before Valentine’s Day hits.

FCI’s dear friend and floral wholesaler Bill Schodowski ,who keeps the world updated on the latest news and events from the US via his weekly Making Every Bloomin’Second Count newsletter, refers to it as a ‘distinct rumble in the distance’ when he speaks about the quickly approaching Valentine’ s Day.    

The weather is on everybody’s radar because especially in the U.S. it has certainly been a winter to remember with freezing temperatures and snow all the way down to the southern states of South Carolina, Georgia and Texas through January and into early February. Schodowski crosses his fingers that the weather will not be an issue in the run up to and on Valentine’s Day.

It is slowly starting to be a madhouse in Miami, the epicentre of U.S. flower imports. “While retailers are usually swamped on Valentine’s Day, floral wholesalers see  their peak  days beforehand.  Conversations get purposely brief when engaging someone in Miami and at grower level. Well, it’s like that every year, I have no reason as to why I thought it would be different this year,” said Bill.

Regarding the offer for Valentine’s Day, Schodowski stressed that nothing will ever shake the red rose from its lofty #1 demand position for product.  However, more enterprising retailers are offering ‘non’ red substitutes on featured arrangements.  Little to no demand for the tie-dyed roses or the 150cm offerings. Good taste will win out… 

Love may not cost a thing, but it appears that more men and women are splurging on the ones they love this Valentine’s Day. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, spending will reach $37 billion as more consumers (74% say they’ll participate vs. 69% in 2013) plan to spend money on their special someone.

This year Valentine’s Day will land on a Friday. “This  is not the best day, but it is hardly the worst.  That would belong to a Saturday or Sunday celebration of the holiday. Retail florists need to aggressively market their services for Valentine’s Da”,” said Schodowski. He continued, “They can no longer approach this holiday passively. There are too many other options available for the consumer for the spendable income.” 

Schodowski has seen a small movement of florists promote Valentine’s Week versus Valentine’s Day.  “Also, waiving or reducing delivery charges for early week deliveries.  There is a reality of how many deliveries can be made on a given day by a florist.  Getting deliveries out to offices and homes on Wednesday and Thursday are being championed by many.  Office deliveries for Friday will be problematic.  If an arrangement is delivered late on Friday, the sending customer will be upset at not receiving the benefit of their purchase before the recipient’s peers.”

Schodowski works for BeautifullyFresh.com, which is a relatively new floral wholesale company.  “So far, 98+% of my requests have been handled by the farm (to date).  There seems to be a backlog of planes that are late arriving from farm.  Hopefully that will be cleared up in the next 2 days.”

For the first time in recent years, the company has been in a position to sell the coveted Ecuadorian roses, especially the Russian Cut.  “The demand has been great from my member base to get these in for their customers.”

He added, “It would appear that many retailers are getting out of the fulfillment game for the wire services. Rather, they are concentrating their efforts on the 100% customer instead of the discounted order customer.” 

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