Valentine's Day becomes flower shops’ most lucrative holiday
By Chen Tong
Valentine's Day is definitely the busiest holiday for flower shops. With Chinese consumers' demands becoming more varied, it's also the shops' most lucrative holiday.
This year, specialty flower arrangements have gotten even more complicated, and some have gotten much more expensive. The vendors are busy wrapping the flowers, while the men are busy picking out more for their girlfriends.
This Valentine's Day, the shops in Shanghai's downtown flower markets are creating individualized products based on customers' demands – arrangements with flowers of any color the boys want to give to their girlfriends.
“Most men have particular requests for Valentine's Day. They tell me the colors and styles their girlfriends like or give me some pictures, and then I create the arrangements just for them,” Xu Rong, owner of Freedays Flora, told CGTN.
Boys always want to buy something special for their girlfriends on Valentine's Day, while girls' demands are also becoming sophisticated. This provides flower shops the opportunity to create fancy products with fancy prices to match.
There are many to choose from already. One rose by itself may cost only 5 or 10 yuan (0.70 or 1.40 U.S. dollars), but none of these products are cheap. One shop is even offering a pig made of pink and white roses with a price of over 30,000 yuan (4,400 U.S. dollars).
Increasing demand for the flowers is one thing, but there are other things driving up the cost of the romantic gifts. The best-selling product at a shop in Shanghai's Xintiandi this Valentine's Day is a gift flower box with a bottle of champagne inside – 999 yuan (147.70 U.S. dollars) for the flowers by themselves, and with a selection of wines for customers to choose.
High as the prices may seem, the florists say the more fancy their products are, the more buyers they attract. “Every girl wants to be special. We have to win on WeChat – 99 roses are not enough now,” said Ren Teng, senior florist at La Moda.
Social media definitely plays an important role in the race to the top of the flower market. With the increasing popularity of social platforms, the flowers naturally get better exposure and marketing.
“Social media has a very strong impact on the consumers' buying decisions. On the other side, social media offers a platform for recipients to show off the flowers and that definitely invites competition,” said Benjamin Zheng, partner of Oliver Wyman.
More flowers, more posts to your friends and more money for the flower shops. A Taobao Valentine's Day report says the sales volume of all flowers this year was up 69 percent from last year. The roses are up over 200 percent.