With the start of the schlumbergera season upon us, demand for the smaller sized ones is lagging behind. "For the 9 cm, the prices on the clock are over 20 percent lower in price compared to the usual price during this time of the year", says Torben Ryg, sales manager at Rosa Danica. This Danish potted rose grower supplies European countries with 9 cm and 12 cm schlumbergeras from October till Christmas.
9 cm - more of a discount product
In recent years, Torben has seen demand for the 9 cm schlumbergeras decrease. Last year, they already decided to put fewer (about a third) schlumbergeras on the market. "The demand is decreasing and on top of that, it is becoming more and more of a discount product. The market - particularly retailers - requires a high number for low prices. We cannot offer them for these prices because of the effort we put in the cultivation process to achieve our desired quality."
9 cm - low auction prices
Rosa Danica supplies around 20 percent of their 9 cm schlumbergeras to the FloraHolland auction clock in the Netherlands. According to Ryg, the prices are lower compared to the usual price during this time of the year. "Last year wasn't a great year either, but 2016 was a more average year. At that time, the prices were around 90 cents or higher, now it stays around 70 cents, which is over 20 percent lower."
Is it the weather?
Over the last couple of months it has been quite warm for the time of year in Rosa Danica's main markets for schlumbergera, namely Scandinavia and Germany. The schlumbergera is a typical Christmas plant, also known as Christmas Cactus. So has the weather been too warm to think about Christmas? Ryg hopes that's the only reason, but he has his doubts. "I would wish that the weather was the single cause of the decrease in demand for the 9 cms, but when looking at the 12 cms that we sell directly, these are doing well. The demand and prices, also on the auction clock, are OK for this time of the year." Also when asking other exporters about their Christmas sales, Ryg hears different experiences. "Some say the Christmas sales are average, others say they are below average and so on."
However, in general, the weather conditions do influence the buyers' behavior. "When revising the year, we have seen that the strange hot and cold temperatures made it difficult to predict the demand."