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Prospects are rosy for Valentine’s Day 2013, according to several surveys and reports.

A recovering economy and the emergence of new groups with an affinity for buying flowers on Valentine’s Day are key pillars of the resurgence of this holiday, second only to Mother’s Day for flower and plant sales.

VALENTINE1112-NEVADOJohn Nevado of Nevado Ecuador holds a box of six-foot-tall roses grown especially for the Valentine’s Day market. The roses sell for up to $20 apiece, he said. The premium rose grower, located south of Quito, Ecuador, ships most of them to Los Angeles, Moscow and New York, he said.More than 39 million households buy flowers and plants on Valentine’s Day, consumer research indicates, though they typically spend less during a recession. The average family spent $84 for Valentine’s Day flowers in 2007, for example, and $67 in 2010. Prince & Prince, a market research firm in Columbus, OH, pointed out that 75 million families buy flowers each year.

“These purchasing estimates,” Prince & Prince stated in a report, “also suggest that the industry still has a way to go in fully penetrating the U.S. market for Valentine’s Day before considering this holiday ‘topped out’ from the demand side.”

Valentine’s Day 2012 saw increased sales as the country continued to emerge from the recession (see “Valentine’s Day weather good, sales up all along supply chain,” The Produce News, March 12, 2012, page 71). Eighty-two percent of wholesale florists surveyed said sales were up in 2012. More than 430 retail florists were in the same ballpark, with 79 percent replying that sales were up an average of 19 percent. Hy-Vee, the Midwest chain, saw sales increase 10 percent.

The 2012 retail florist survey by the Society of American Florists found that 53 percent of Valentine’s Day orders were for roses, and two-thirds of these were for red roses. The average price for an arrangement of a dozen long-stem roses was $80, compared to an everyday price of $62. A dozen long-stem roses, unarranged, normally $45, went for $62.

According to a National Retail Federation survey, in 2012 the average person in this country celebrated Valentine’s Day by shelling out $126, up nearly 9 percent over 2011 and the highest amount in the survey’s 10-year history. About 36 percent gave flowers, a percentage that had dropped slightly during the recession years of 2008-11.

Two key groups that seem to account for much of the increase in household floral purchasing for Valentine’s Day are families where consumers are under 35 years of age (59 percent buy flowers on Valentine’s Day) and those where they are over 65 (sales to this part of the 55 and older “mature romantics” age group on Valentine’s Day jumped 30 percent from 2007 to 2010).

Family income is also a contributing factor toward Valentine’s Day floral purchases, research indicates, though not as strong as the age factors. Generally, lowest-income families, those earning under $25,000 a year, have been increasing their purchases during the recession, and so to a lesser degree have been those with incomes $25,000 to $50,000. Those with more than $50,000 in income have had mixed trends or declines.

Teenagers in the house also increase the likely purchase of flowers for Valentine’s Day by 25 percent. Overall, Prince & Prince identifies opportunities for supermarket floral departments on Valentine’s Day at both ends of the consumer age spectrum, “with distinct floral products targeted at younger and older (age 55 and up) segments, thus broadening the Valentine’s Day floral offering.”