By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Local flower boutiques are reporting massive spikes in order volumes and value ahead of the occasion
Local flower shops have been forced to recruit extra staff to meet with huge demand ahead of Valentine’s Day on February 14, with some outlets reporting sales that has risen 100 fold.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Abbey Dean, the creative director of UAE-based Bliss Flowers, said that the firm has had to increase its staff and double its delivery fleet to cope with the influx of customers on Valentine’s Day.
“Our Valentine’s orders start coming in on the 10th of February every year and throughout Valentine’s week, our orders total up to about 100 times more,” Dean said.
At a wider level, Dean said that Valentine’s Day is extremely important to the firm as it leads to “wider exposure” in the UAE market.
“More and more people learn about our product,” she said. “We curate new looks each year to cater to the ever-evolving tastes of the UAE market.”
Similarly, Tamara Khalifah, the head of operations at local design company Maison Des Fleurs, said that while there are a number of occasions throughout the year where flower-getting is a tradition, “the volume of flowers purchased during these occasions does not come close to purchases during Valentine’s.”
“As a result, how well we do around Valentine’s Day generally has an impact on our annual performance,” she said. “Knowing this, we plan ahead to make sure that we’re fully prepared to accommodate the large increase in orders.”
Khalifah added that orders increase both in value and in numbers, with the total volume of orders around Valentine’s Day comparable to what the firm might see in an average month.
“Starting from the 9th or 10th of February, we begin to see a massive increase in the number of orders, both in our stores and online,” she said. “The average spend per order also increases, this is mainly due to the increase in the price of red roses during that week.”
Gareth Knowd, the owner of Flowers.ae and Irish equivalent Flowers.ie, said that his business is forced to reduce its order book at peak times such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
"We have to throttle our business. We don't advertise at peaks and reduce our range. We have 200 items and there's no way we could do that,” he said, adding that preference is given to repeat customers.
Knowd added, however, that he believes many bristle at buying flowers on Valentine’s Day because “your rose prices will go through the roof.”
“The consumers thinks [we] are charging double for their roses [and] taking advantage because its Valentines, but it’s not,” he said. “At Valentine’s, the price you pay in Ecuador or Colombia, not just on the rose itself, might triple or quadruple in price quite easily.
“The transport also becomes clogged, so the cargo rates go up hugely. So by the time you have the product land here, you're looking at 3 or 4 times [the price],” Knowd added.
In the case of Maison des Fleurs, Khalifah said that customers primarily still prefer Valentine’s Day ‘classics’ such as red rose arrangements, along with chocolates.
“Our long life roses are also very popular during Valentine’s for customers who want a gift that lasts,” she said. “Of course, we have some customers who choose different colours, or types of flowers, but what we’ve seen is that the majority will go for classic red roses.”
While Bliss Flowers’s Abbey Dean also said that red roses remain a favourite, purple and dusty pink flower “also sell a lot.”
This year, however, the firm has teamed up with Pierre Marcolini Middle East to offer ‘heart chocolates’ and macarons in a bid to diversify its offerings and boost business.
“Collaborations get us to a much more interesting position to innovate,” she said. “As with all our collaborations our aim is the success of one bring brings success to the partner brand and is the best say to build new business and delve into new markets and increase customer database.”For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.