Online Flower Auction suspends operations due to lack of demand

Following in the footsteps of Dutch-based rose growers Bernhard Roses, Holla Roses, and Van den Berg RoseS, Kenyan rose grower Nini by Herburg Roses began selling its entire ‘auction range’ through Online Flower Auction (OFA) on 9 December 2022.

Online Flower Auction, a new online bidding system for freshly cut roses launched by rose growers Arie van den Berg and Paul Holla in the summer of 2022, has announced a temporary suspension of its operations starting 1 March 2023, citing a steady drop in sales.

OFA’s official statement reads, “Over the past few months, Online Flower Auction (OFA) has successfully auctioned roses based on the ‘today for tomorrow’ concept. The logistics of delivering the flowers directly from the nursery went well, just like the operation of the digital auction clock. All in all, this provided many benefits for buyers and growers, including lower costs in the chain and timely delivery of the roses to the buyer’s box.

Unfortunately, OFA’s decision to auction ‘today for tomorrow’ seems premature; the entire floriculture sector is not ready for it, which ultimately lacked purchasing power. This is why the difficult decision is made to stop auctioning temporarily as of the 1st of March 2023.”

OFA conducted ‘extensive research to improve purchasing power. The study found that buyers have a preference for ‘today for tomorrow’ and auctioning at the current auction times. Buyers also indicated they were positive about the logistic process of delivering the flowers directly from the nursery. However, the survey made it very clear that hybrid auctioning (grower auctioning at different auctions) is undesirable and certainly does not contribute to the willingness to buy at OFA.

This, combined with the fact that a large part of the floriculture sector is not yet set up for ‘today for tomorrow’ so that in many cases, there is no need to buy on OFA, has made them decide that a temporary suspension of the auction is unavoidable.

Today 28 February 2023, marked OFA’s last trading day for the time being. After this, OFA will consider the future in which they can even better address possible bottlenecks arising in the floriculture sector. Possibilities to auction other product groups (other flower varieties and plants) will also be explored.

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