NL: Good Valentine’s sales confirm smooth start of flower and plant export

The Dutch flower and plant export has started smoothly this year with an increase of 8% to € 439 million. Good sales prior to Valentine's Day confirm the positive trade mood. In the Floridata statistics it is noticeable that in January the plants did relatively better than the flowers. The VGB (Association of the Wholesale Traders in Ornamental Plant Products) classifies the increase as solid, because in January last year an increase of 13% was realized. Eventually, the export value in 2017 rose by 5% and exporters passed the € 6 billion mark for the first time.

The flower value in January increased by 4% to € 283 million and that of the pot and garden plants by 15% to € 156 million. "Last year the cut flowers did structurally better than the plants, the year before it was the other way around. Our participants expect growth in both segments," according to Wesley van den Berg from Floridata. "The growth in Eastern European countries is strong and boosts the export value", director Matthijs Mesken of the VGB refers to the increase of 15% in Poland. This runner-up is for the first time in fourth place in the sales destinations. "But drawing conclusions after one month is premature."
 


Positive Valentine’s 
Valentine's Day is an important boost for the sale of flowers and the first of a series of special flower and plant days. The final results at the retail level can be determined tomorrow, but the wholesaler noted a good start. "This confirms the positive mood and the market potential of floricultural products," Mesken determines. "Still more than last year, especially tulips", reports Jan Barnhoorn of Swiss-based retail supplier Gebr. Barnhoorn. This was not the case for the florist segment, says Harm van de Gugten of Barendsen Bloemen. "Our customers sometimes counted on up to 30% less in connection with carnival and the spring break. Fortunately it did not turn out that way at all ", says Erik-Jaap Kroone of Nijssen Junior, mainly active in the German market. "More than expected", Toine Spierings of P. van Dam adds for Austria. "We definitely know when the customers give us feedback, but the signs are good."

Differences
From the German-speaking countries the export in January to Switzerland rose strongly above average by 17%. Germany also recorded an above-average increase of 10% while Austria lagged behind with an increase of 3%. "Last year we literally had a cold start in Germany, then the demand remains behind. We have to take that into account in the comparison," Kroone differentiates this. Disappointing winter weather in Austria was the cause of the lesser growth this year, according to Spierings. The perspective of further growth in Switzerland is not substantial according to Barnhoorn and Van der Gugten. "The lower exchange rate of the Swiss franc makes our flowers more expensive," says Van der Gugten.

Van den Berg notes, based on underlying statistics from Floridata, that export growth in January to destinations outside the top-10 for the first time lagged behind the average. "That is striking and this year we are going to monitor this additionally. Because export spread and therefore growth in other countries is important", he explains. After January the top-10 counts for 82% of export sales, last year that was on average 80.5%. "As with the remarkable development of the plants, we do not draw any conclusions yet."

The Top-10 destinations total export value for flowers and plants from the Netherlands in 2017 in euros is available for VGB members and Floridata participants via www.vgb.nl or www.floridata.nl.

Source: VGB

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