In the first seven months of the year, the export turnover of flowers and plants from the Netherlands went up by more than 2% to € 3.6 billion, as shown by VGB export statistics. With a plus of 4.3% plants perform better than cut flowers: plus 1,3%. One of the reasons for this are higher costs of purchasing. In a market where competition is fierce, the differences of the export position per destination are large. On an overall level the perspectives remain positive though.

After the first half year, export increased by 3%. Because the turnover in July was lower than the annual average, the increase fell to 2.4%. To date, a turnover of almost 3.6 billion euro was realized: € 2.2 billion for cut flowers and € 1.4 billion for plants. The monthly export statistics of VGB are based on data collected by Floridata from connected exporters. For its members, VGB has data available from Comtrade and Statistics Netherlands for combined data analysis. This allows them to analyze their own position and to fine-tune their strategy toward buyers and suppliers.

Higher costs of sales
For cut flowers, potted and garden plants, the costs of sales are higher than last year. "It can be difficult to pass on those costs to the consumer. Add to that the lower exchange rate of the British pound, for instance, and it becomes clear that the market is stagnating”, says director Henk Lamboo of Holland Indoor Plant. Cumulatively, England's deficit is 2% in comparison with the record year 2015. At a € 568 million export turnover, it's still 15% higher than in the year 2014.

”The value for each flower has risen. Interestingly, the price setting, especially for flowers, fluctuates more clearly than in the past now,” says Remi van der Zwet, head of procurement and sales at D. Visser en Zn. He says it's hard to point to a clear reason for this.

Competitive position
The competitive position of the Dutch exporters on an international level is solid, but varies by export market. Harm Koningen of Hukra calls the foundations laid in Sweden and the perspectives favorable. The development of revenue realized by exporters from the Netherlands are average this year, in turnover value just above € 100 million.

The increase in Italy is almost two times higher and was primarily realized with plants: + 4.7% for € 165 million. ”The Dutch competition mainly increased for the flowers. The Netherlands are facing a narrower choice of products and a greater reliance on import”, Ruud Koek, salesman Italy of Hamifleurs says of the rose market. ”As a result the Dutch are less flexible. And Italians are also good flower growers, that makes it hard in certain periods to sell”.

What is striking is the above average growth of flower and plant exports to major buyer Germany. In the first seven months of the year, Germany purchased 5% more from the Dutch. This is the same growth rate as the euro zone countries in the top-10 purchasers list in the same period. The export to non European countries declined by 2%.

Large differences for top purchasers
Due to the increase of 15% in July, Belgium is the biggest growth market of the top-10 purchasers. The Russian market disappoints again in July, with a record fall of 45%. Last year, Russia was still fourth in the flower top-10 and the US ninth. Now the U.S. overtakes Russia, coming in at number eight. Ireland increased by 12% to € 17 million, moving up to fifteenth place. The additional data supplied by the VGB import module and Comtrade shows that the Netherlands owns two thirds of the Irish cut flower market. Van der Zwet mainly sees an increase in the consumption of flowers in Ireland for weddings. In the plant segment, England is market leader.

Efficient organization
Lamboo is optimistic about the international market prospects for flowers and plants from the Netherlands. ”Logistical efficiency is an increasing factor and accounts receivable management requires attention”. This is also confirmed by Koek for the Southern European markets. The increase in purchasing and selling online has, according to exporters, significant consequences for the choice of suppliers. ”Not all growers are adjusted to this, so relations with chain partners change," is the experience of Lamboo and colleagues. Electronic commerce changes the requirements for specifications, information, and ordering and delivery times. The VGB says that the position for the Dutch flower and plant wholesalers is good and that there are many developments to come. ”Which can lead to further strengthening of the market position”.

Source: Floridata