11 February 2020
MIAMI: USA: Our man in the United States, William Armellini from sister publication FlowersandCents, sampled sentiments in the trade three days before Valentine’s Day.
“By now, depending on where you are in the distribution chain, you know what kind of holiday you have, had or are having. Depending on who you talk to, the crops came early or on time,” Armellini says.
The general consensus is that the open market was active since most interviewees reported that their pre-books where down. “This is a trend we have seen over the last 5 +years as more flowers are available for holidays and in the end everyone seems to get what they needed. The price and quality are the main variables.”
Supermarkets continue to be a major player in the holiday games and more than ever greatly influence the market. “Rain In Kenya has European markets looking to Ethiopia or South America for roses and that likely helped the market here.”
Here’s what four US importers have to say. Importer number one said, “We had solid prebooks but the open market is not moving great. Since Colombia and Ecuador came in on time, quality was very good so not a lot of customers looking to replace product. Also, we are hearing that Friday Valentines sales are lower than last year so it lowers last minute demand for product.”
Another importer comments., “The only thing for certain is that after all of these years you never know what to expect when it comes to Valentine’s Day sales, no two holidays are the same. I believe that everyone pre-booked less because the holiday falls on a Friday, a self-fulfilling prophesy. As the orders come in later and later every year, I truly believe that the entire industry needs a promotional order to promote the consumption of flowers. The general public knows the beauty of flowers but we need to make sure it’s front of mind. That being said overall the holiday for us was a good one. We do not have a lot of flowers left over which is a positive. Our customers are reporting excellent quality and good sell thru which is a great for everyone. We are now in the home stretch and it’s all about finishing strong.”
Importer #3 told FCI, “The market is still hot on red roses and certain colours. As well as in alstroemerias. Supply is almost out and we do not anticipate much more arriving this week. Customers, apparently booked less and are now purchasing on the open market and prices are holding. Carnations and lilies are not as in demand as expected. We are expecting many air shipments in the next 2 days.”
Importer #4 noted, “Yes, fat lady is singing loud and clear, another holiday has come and gone. Overall sales are flat. Slightly below last year, but market held up pretty well throughout the holiday, all items other than roses sold well, red rose prices never hit high prices as we’ve seen in the past. Once again, mass market orders drove our sales up, I believe Friday holiday is a good day for supermarkets and online order takers. If the weather stays clam throughout the week, it will be a good holiday for wholesalers and retailers.”