BRUSSELS, Belgium: Belgium-based flower auction Euroveiling has reported reduced losses in its 2020 results despite the disruption caused by Covid-19.
During Belgium’s first lockdown announced on 18 March 2020, the government ordered Euroveiling, garden centres and flower shops to close. However, a quick overhaul of the auction’s existing digital clock sales system allowed trade to pick up shortly afterwards.
This pro-active approach enabled the auction to meet the needs and demand for flower shops and set up an online sales environment.
When the garden centres in Belgium reopened on 18 April, and soon after also flower shops, sales picked up thick and fast and by 15 May 2020, the auction generated 80 per cent of their average turnover.
Thanks to high prices for flowers and plants in the second half of the year, Euroveiling could reduce losses to four per cent compared to 2019, when sales amounted to € 31 million.
Digitalisation efforts at Euroveiling continue to accelerate in the wake of Covid-19. The auction posting a digital sales boost to 25 per cent of transactions from 10 per cent in pre-Covid times.
This digital sales spike allowed for important cost savings (staff) and an increase in profit.
Euroveiling anticipates digital is here to stay because the number of in-person auction days reduced from four to three. Euroveiling’s fourth auction day is now reserved for digital sales only based on a system of pre-established prices.
Euroveiling is a cooperative with 130 Belgian member growers who predominantly serve local flower shops, street vendors and garden centres. The auction operates in a challenging business environment. Younger people don’t look into ornamental horticulture as a profession. And, the ageing population of Belgian flower and plant growers is seeing a decline in horticultural entrepreneurs numbers. The problem is severe because most growers do not have a successor to take over the business.
Dutch exporters are quick to fill in the gap by supplying Euroveiling with flowers and plants from the Netherlands