I have reached out to a number of Importers to get a feel for how this holiday is taking shape. Rather than me trying to consolidate this into a summary I will let their words speak for themselves.
Importer #1 We got off to a slow start but pre books are coming in strong now.Everyone thought it would be softer than last year because VD is on a Friday followed by a Monday holiday but I believe we are starting to match last year’s numbers. If it keeps up there might not be a lot available on the open market.
We heard Ecuador was in early on roses so there might not be much around later. It seems as if bookings for Valentines get later and later. What I’ve been hearing is that retailers have been dragging their feet some therefore the wholesalers have been a little slow in placing orders. Production seems to be coming in on time from both countries. That being said, this week has gotten off to an active start for the holiday and pre-booking flowers.
Importer #2 So far it looks like we will have enough red and white roses from Ecuador. However, rose crops in certain parts of Africa seem to be rained out, so I suspect some last minute pressure on the South American rose market. Our sales seem a little lighter than last two years, we are still taking pre orders, but seem to be a little lighter. Perhaps because the holiday is on a Friday this year. Lots of other options for couples to give each other, a night out for example. Also we have seen last few year an increase in non rose orders, items such as ranunculus, anemones, hyacinths, tulips. Cheaper, more stems for the same amount of money and more importantly from the perspective of the store owners, if they have some left after vday, they can still use these flowers. I hope everyone in the industry will have a great valentine, with beautiful quality flowers
Importer #3 (Had much to say)
Weather Temperature in Bogota has been dipping below 0’c last few nights, thus slowing down the rose production. When this happens, production curve will hit flat for days, and farms will produce less than they expected.
We are already seeing a higher than normal demand on crops that are easily affected by cold weather, such as Alstroemeria and Snapdragon
Consolidation of farms: During the past year, many of the medium size rose farms have been bought out by the big companies. Either big Bouquet companies bought them, or bigger farms took them over.
Such consolidation leaves less roses in the market, so, in theory, there will be less supply for open market.
Friday holiday. Since our business is driven by mass market orders, we are expecting them to have an excellent holiday. There are tons of promos being run for V-day, customers will have all week to buy flowers at supermarkets.
Ocean Freight. Each year, more shipments are coming via ocean cargo. This is reducing the lift requirements for the cargo airlines, so I expect smooth freight coming in.
US Economy: Hate him or not, Trump’s economy is booming. (for some). Stock market is all time high, US Dollar is strong, Unemployment is low, inflation is under control. If he signs the trade agreement with China (expected to happen before V-day), I think American consumers will feel confident going forward.
Miami Inventory: As of right now, Miami coolers are pretty empty. Market is solid, products are moving well in call categories. This is a good indication for a strong holiday.
Importer #4 For us, Miami bookings are way down, and we expected that, every year more folks wants to play the market or direct the bookings right to the farms, however, what many don’t realize is many big red rose farms in 2019 were sold to bouquet groups and that undoubtedly will take huge amounts of red roses off the open market. This year the waiters may be surprised and may drive prices higher as I hear some farms are early in Ecuador and some farms are intentionally early in Colombia because of sea shipments. In Ecuador our boutique farm’s quality has never been better and doesn’t pinch, so we have our normal volumes for sale.
All in all a Friday Valentines is usually good as long as the weather cooperates and the industry can use a good one.
I wish the industry all the best and hope we all have success in 2020, we are better together than apart. .
Importer #5: It seems as if bookings for Valentines get later and later. What I’ve been hearing is that retailers have been dragging their feet some therefore the wholesalers have been a little slow in placing orders. Production seems to be coming in on time from both countries. That being said, this week has gotten off to an active start for the holiday and pre-booking flowers.
My Summary: So there you have it, a good review of what is happening right now in the floral machine we call the flower industry. As always, lots of factors to consider when deciding when to place your bet and push the send button on an order. Better yet, call your sales person, who is likely on hold waiting for you to answer, take the call.
I wonder how many of the pre-orders that are already on the book are mass market or e-commerce related vs traditional wholesale/retail?
I will update this newsletter in a few weeks to see if the mood is still this positive. Good luck to all.