I reached out to several industry members to get a sense of just how this holiday unfolded. Here are their responses.
“It’s was a good holiday, but not a great one. Open market was not as strong towards the end, especially on Roses. Ecuador came early, due to the logistical challenges, many of those growers start building up inventory in Miami, and flooded the market with cheap and aged roses, which didn’t help the market.
But, yesterday was very strong, everyone restocked up, which is a good sign.”
“Another one under our belt. Last year was a terrible one, it was good with sales, but logistics were due to the extreme cold in the mid west, freezing temperatures in Texas and Fedex being occupied by sending the vaccines, we felt it could not be a worse holiday than last year, and we were right, thankfully 😉
It was a very smooth holiday for us. Our flowers from Holland, South America, Italy and Japan all came in on time, of course we had some delays, but we had built in a cushion of time, our domestic truck and flight partners really came through and did a great job! Our clients have been busy, happy with the quality of the flowers and generally it just had a great vibe this year!
I hope that everyone in the industry had the same positive experience this Valentine. “
“Every holiday brings on different challenges and this one was no exception. There was a lot of noise going in regarding freight, both from South America and in the states, but as usual it was not as bad as we all thought. The market stayed active during peak shipping days and has maintained that way which means everyone seems to have had a good holiday. Freedom prices today are still strong which is a great indication of not only the holiday but that the month should end well. People are needing to restock on all products and there is not a lot of product available. The holiday hangover does not seem to be there.”
“This Valentines was very smooth and the market was strong, but I don’t have numbers yet to verify if it was very profitable. KB did not plan to have a huge holiday because we were limited in some products such as oriental and la lilies because of bulb supply disruptions. We did a lot of pre-planning so that we did not over-commit product and made sure to sell to the customers who support us all year round. We raised prices but we probably have not raised them enough to covered the increases in labor, energy and raw materials. However, we had very limited OT and our coolers are currently empty so my feeling is we will be on budget profit wise for the year, even if we are down in revenue.
FYI: March is National Gerbera Month, our gerberas are now ramping up in production going into spring, so that is our current focus. ”
“All in all a good holiday in spite of the higher freight costs, delays and cold weather. We had a pretty good snow storm (12 -18 inches) across most CPF markets in early Feb but then just cold and little snow for the rest of the holiday. We are up 11% in sales for the month over 2021 (through 14th).
Had a few quality issues with roses from a couple growers but were able to get replacements in time
on most. So far customer comments are mostly positive that they sold out pretty well.”
“I HATE FUCKING VALENTINES DAY………. HATE IT……..
The top secret sea container bizz now seems to be accepted by many and is moving to the new normal….. this allowed us who usually fly not float to be able to move boxes without any huge delays… limited charters were available but we didn’t need any. Rates were at an all time high, we paid 1 charter @ 4.75 Kilo!
The holiday was good overall, some say the Super Bowl may have slowed retail sales, some of the trucking companies were overwhelmed and created some issues with late arrivals and missing shipments. Red roses dried up at the very end and became hot over the weekend. As of today sales slowed some but seems as wedding orders are picking up and farms are now gearing to women’s day. I really wish all these “marketing efforts” would play more into women’s day, there are sure a whole lot of women to buy flowers for not just your valentine…”
“ We really weren’t sure what to expect this year with so many factors at play from flight and trucking delays, COVID, Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday, labor shortages, inflation, and more. We were also coming from a record 2020 Valentine’s Day.
– Our internal discussions and modeling predicted that we would end up having a similar year in sales to last Valentine’s Day but possibly slightly lower unit sales and higher revenue from higher AOV. We were lucky that our expectations for units and revenue were both beaten significantly.
– Monday Valentine’s Days are historically chaotic and last-minute. While this was still a last-minute holiday, with nearly 50% of our total order volume coming in on the 14th itself, the Super Bowl weekend allowed our staff to be better prepared for the Monday rush. Many people also opted to remain at home instead of travel for Valentine’s weekend, likely due to the Super Bowl and COVID.
– The Friday before Valentine’s Day turned out to be a much busier day than we anticipated with a lot of early deliveries and workplace deliveries.
– We felt fortunate to get in all the fresh product we needed and we ordered earlier than normal thanks to the foresight of our buyers. While we had some of the usual product quality issues that sometimes come during a holiday crunch, we found availability was generally good. Pricing was up some, but not terrible. Freight has been, of course, running higher. We used air freight to replace some bad product and add more as needed.
– We had some trucking delay concerns but generally experienced no issues here. I think many trucking companies were well-prepared for the holiday rush.
– This was definitely a rose-centric holiday. While Valentine’s is always rose heavy, we found more people than in previous years asking for rose arrangements. People were generally less picky about getting specific flowers or mixed arrangements.
– We had at least 4 of our markets interviewed by local news about supply chain shortages in the fresh flower industry and increased freight costs. It appears local news outlets picked up national stories about this tied to inflation and COVID supply-chain disruption. It seemed to help drive a bit of early ordering, but not significantly. The coverage may have prepped some customers for slightly higher costs.
– We found that consumers were not very price sensitive in general and average order value increased significantly across all markets, driven in part by higher-priced offerings and in part by slightly increased pricing.
– Some hard goods and containers were hard to come by before the holiday but this was a relatively minor issue for us.
– With Omicron subsiding in most parts of the country, we found walk-ins to be up higher than expected, especially in southern markets.
– The biggest challenges we had related to the labor shortage – particularly finding enough contract drivers in every market. Luckily, we made additional use of 3rd party courier services as needed and had very few issues overall.
– The labor market continues to be tight, but we were able to find enough help for the holidays including people willing to help designers.
– We were lucky that the weather was generally favorable in most parts of the country where we operate and that did not cause delays or disruptions.
– Outgoing orders continue to be difficult to fulfill in many markets with local stores generating higher volume from their own orders than in past years.
– As expected, websites drew a great deal of traffic and also drove phone calls. Pre-paid in store pickup was up in addition to pre-orders.
– Most customers still wanted flowers delivered on the 14th despite incentives and messaging to order early.
– We were happy to find that demand for flowers continues to be high around the country
– I believe this holiday will be one for the history books as one of the best Valentine’s Day periods for florists in recent history, with many uncertain conditions ending up in our favor. I am very thankful to our dedicated team for helping us have a record Valentine’s Day with great feedback and reviews from customers.
– Initial conversations with other florists seems to indicate similar trends nationwide.
– All in all, a great holiday. We hope that consumer demand for fresh flowers remains at this level. “
All the best!
Kevin R. McCarthy
Family Owner, President + C.O.O.