Valentine's Day marks the start of the Colombian flower export season. The United States is the country’s main sales destination, since 80% of the total goes there, portafolio.co reports.
Last year, according to Asocolflores, the sector’s overall sales up until November amounted to almost 1,458 million dollars; a similar figure to that reported at the end of 2018.
According to data from the Maro system of Productive Colombia, the country’s sales in the period from January to November 2019 amounted to 1,374 million dollars. Meanwhile, ProColombia reported slightly higher sales abroad.
These were estimated at 1,381 million dollars, with an increase of 13,694 dollars compared to 2018. The main destinations of Colombian flowers in the first eleven months of 2019 were the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands.
The Canadian and Japanese markets reported falls compared to the previous year’s figures. The value of sales in Canada fell by 8.4%, while in Japan they did by 1.4%, with 36 and 44.6 million dollars, respectively.
According to the president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores), Augusto Solano, it is difficult to predict the sales that will be achieved this year for Valentine's Day.
“It is difficult to know how much we are going to sell for Valentine’s Day because it depends on many factors: the weather, the date of the cut, etc. But in general we expect this year’s results to be similar to those of the previous one, with the total approaching 1.5 billion dollars,” he said.
According to the manager, the variety selling the most at this time of the year is roses, but the country is also doing great with bouquets. Because of the wide range available, there are also carnations, alstroemeria and chrysanthemums.
Colombia handles 1,400 varieties of about 50 species. Proflora 2019 was a big success for the sector in terms of exhibitors and buyers, which has allowed it to remain one of the strongest in the supply of supermarket bouquets for the United States.
According to AmCham Colombia, “taking advantage of special occasions is a good strategy to increase exports to the United States, but it should not be the most important,” said María Claudia Lacouture, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce, AmCham.
Colombian flowers stand second in the ranking of goods exported to this nation (only behind mineral products), with exports worth 1,087.0 million dollars between January and November 2019. This entails a 0.9% increase compared to the same period of 2018, when 1,077.4 million dollars in exports were reported. Colombia accounts for 10.6% of all sales to that country.
Between January and February 2019, flower exports to the United States were worth 205.3 million dollars – a figure that could be matched this year – which is 6.2% more than in the same period of 2018, when shipments were worth 193.3 million dollars.
Roses, fresh pompoms, carnations and miniature carnations, hydrangeas, alstroemeria, chrysanthemums and lilies are the most demanded kinds of flowers in the United States.
Between January and November 2019, there were sales recorded for roses (236.0 million dollars), pompoms (78.0 million dollars), carnations (56.6 million dollars), hydrangeas (52.9 million dollars), alstroemeria (47.8 million dollars), miniature carnations (33.9 million dollars), chrysanthemums (24.2 million dollars) and lilies (8.6 million dollars).
The US states that most demand Colombian flowers are Florida, with sales worth 671.9 million dollars and a 6.1% growth compared to January-November 2018, and California, with exports worth 69.8 million dollars and an increase of 26.0%. The list of destinations also includes Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and New York.
In Puerto Rico’s case, 64.6% of the flowers sold in that state are of Colombian origin.