Colombians love flowers. Of course they export 90 percent of their production, but there is a domestic market in cities like Bogota and Medellin.
As pointed out elsewhere in this issue of FCI, flowers are sold mainly in the Northern hemisphere (Europe and North America). Consumers in these regions have the means to purchase flowers. In a city like Bogota differences in income levels are huge. Many people simply do not have the money to buy flowers on a regular basis. This becomes abundantly clear when you compare the Colombian per capita income ($7447) to the Dutch per capita income ($50,925). Nevertheless, in Bogota you will find that upper, middle and lower classes each have their own markets. But one thing is for certain: in all income groups you will find people who love flowers.
Buying on the street
Low income groups generally buy their flowers at the Plaza Supermarket and the street markets, not on a weekly basis but for special occasions. These flowers will not typically be top quality and their cold chain could be improved. But this way large groups of customers are able to purchase flowers, which almost always are Colombian grown.
Buying in the supermarket
Bogota also has many middle class consumers, people who have the money to buy a better product more regularly. For this target group the supermarket is important. Colombian producers know how to deal with supermarket organizations worldwide, so they know how to deal with domestic supermarkets, too. Doing business with supermarkets means working with relatively good supply chains on aspects like cooling, care and handling.
Buying in flower shops
A major city like Bogota naturally has flower shops in all price ranges including high-end flower shops where the well-to-do come to decorate their house or their social gathering . Many of these shops offer their services online . Looking at some of these websites you get the impression that the flowers being used are of good quality and the level of floristry is sufficient.
Is there a local market in floral areas like Bogota and Medellin? Yes, there is and there is also a culture of flowers. Take for instance the Medellin Feria de los flores, a floral festival held in August. Yes, Columbians do love flowers.
Flower sales in Colombia
- Domestic consumption is only 5% of Colombia’s total production. Considering the fact that Colombian exports are about $1.4 billion, the local market has an estimated turnover of approximately $70 million.
- The most important holidays for purchasing flowers are Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
- The most popular flowers are roses, chrysanthemums, alstroemeria, lilies , summer flowers such as hydrangeas and tropicals such as Heliconias.