Even though Valentine's Day '21 sales were booming in Canada and most parts of the USA, the challenge this year was supply and weather. So, why not celebrate Valentine's Day in August? According to Lawrence Hopman of Hopman Flower Farms, a floral sourcing agency, this will not only eliminate these two challenges, it will have more advantages.
Booming sales in Ontario, Canada
Hopman is based in Canada and last Sunday, Valentine's Day, he visited many grocery stores in Ontario and was surprised with what he saw. "Shelves and pails were empty of cut flowers and plants. Only some leftover fresh greens remained. All in all, I can state that sales were booming in my area."
Bad weather in parts of the US
In the USA, several regions lost sales due to the bad weather, he explains. "My clients in the US Pacific Northwest states and in Texas and Oklahoma, had stores closed or consumers stayed home due to the bad weather," he explains.
Demand was high and prices were good, however supply has been a major issue this year. "Many of the growers that I represent ran out of material and had to cut back purchase orders because they could not fill everyone in the week prior to Valentines Day. Many buyers tried to add on to confirmed bookings, but we had to turn them away. Greenhouses were empty. This was for both cut flowers and potted plants." There are no hard statistics yet, but according to Hopman, bookings and final purchase orders were 12% to 15% over the available supply.
Why not celebrate Valentine's Day in August?
Supply and bad weather have been the main challenges this year. With this in mind, Hopman sees a lot of advantages in moving the Valentine's Day celebration to August. "First, production is at its peak in summer. The supply is tight and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Any growers who are not propagating their own plugs, tissue culture or cuttings will be affected adversely by supply and demand market forces. Huge demand is causing shortages and prices to go up."
Another advantage with moving this holiday to summer is better quality. "Quality is at its peak in summer which is something many in North America are not experiencing as they only tend to buy flowers at peak holidays. However and particularly during Valentine's Day, retail experience is often disappointing because the consumer is forced to pay higher than normal prices for plants and flowers that are not at their best. Stockpiling begins weeks ahead to fill the demand, resulting in flowers with a shelf life of only days. Valentine’s Day does our industry no good. Many consumers ask themselves: 'why would I want to continue to buy flowers when my Valentine's Day experience is always over-priced product that doesn’t last?”, he explains. "In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day. Maybe Pope Francis can help us out and make a new decree and move it to the summer."
In line - and on top - of that, it will create more sales demand for cut flowers in a season that is usually considered as low season. "Typically, the demand for cut flowers goes down in summer. This would be a boost for producers."