Fasten your seatbelts (Now you see it, Now you Don’t)
The flower business has always been susceptible to many influences that control the supply and price of flowers. September 11th shut down air traffic into the United States causing shortages and price increases. Numerous severe hurricanes hit Florida and caused shortages of flowers inbound and outbound. Nothing has influenced the market like the perfect storm we are living through since February 2021. Shortages and prices have hit all-time highs. Nobody knows when it will end or how extreme it will be. This is a concern for the 2021 Mother’s Day shipping period.
Why is this happening? What is causing this and when will there be a correction?
There are answers to why it is happening, but not to when it will get back to normal.
Wholesalers who have Mother’s day orders for 450 boxes of a particular item are being told as late as today that they will only get 30 boxes fulfilled out of their advance order.
Reasons for this shortage are many:
Covid in general has influenced how farms are managed and reacted to last year’s shutdown
Shortages of employees, plant material, and bulbs because of covid
Extreme weather in growing areas since early December 2020 and still continuing
High demand period during Christmas, Valentines, Women’s Day, Mother’s Day in the UK, an early Easter, and Mother’s Day in North America coming (no time for the market to cool down)
Some farms managed crops poorly and combined with weather have created low productivity
Some farms downsized figuring Covid was cutting demand as the new normal (boy were they wrong!)
Reasons why prices have risen to new highs:
Increases in freight rates because passenger flights from other countries have not been allowed, or cutbacks in flights because fewer people are willing to travel during Covid
Freighter aircraft that have been carrying PPE and vaccinations for much higher rates and will only carry flowers if the rates are comparable
Supply and demand have been driven higher increased buying after 11 months of quarantine and per capita consumption increasing.
Large farms buying up smaller ones to get more supply for their large mass-market customers where consumption and impulse buying has been growing
An economy that is better than it seems
Long term existing mass-market commitments are still being honored
Flowers make everyone happier
In order to work around these issues, we must all work together. Florists should place their orders early with their suppliers. This will allow for farms to offer substitutions if needed. A year ago, the industry was canceling orders and businesses were shutting down. Today everyone is ordering more than ever and the industry is recovering more than we expected.
The flower business is a very resilient business and in the end, it will thrive.
Tighten your wizard hats!
The Wizard and Sahid