A thorn in Valentine's Day revenues

Top News | Feb 15, 2018
It was not a rosy Valentine's Day for florists in the city as their revenues took a hit, despite rose bouquet sales being healthy.

Florists attributed the decrease in revenue to men purchasing smaller bunches of flowers, along with costs being driven up by a manpower shortage and expensive imports.

Cheung, a florist in the Mong Kok "Fa Hui" flower market, saw her revenue plunge 10 percent, and blamed it on men buying flowers that cost between HK$600 and HK$700.

"Sales are on par with last year, but the problem is men are not splashing out on big bouquets," she said. "Smaller bunches are more easily carried around if the couples visit the Lunar New Year market."

She also said that blooms were more expensive than last year.

Another flower shop also felt the pinch this year. "Wholesalers are providing fewer roses as Valentine's Day this year comes two days before Lunar New Year, when people would traditionally buy bountiful orchids, cherry blossoms and daffodils," he said. "We also hired three more temporary workers to deal with both festivals."

One flower shop was armed with a number of luxury 99 rose bouquets from Kenya that cost HK$3,000. However, most of the inquiries it received were for smaller bunches.

Most bouquets cost roughly the same as last year, but some increased the price by about HK$20.

Despite the heftier price tag, a man joked that he had no choice but to purchase a bouquet of flowers, saying: "I will die if I do not buy a bouquet."

The bunch of 11 roses cost him about HK$700, but he admitted he was originally prepared to pay up to HK$1,000.

Also in Mong Kok, a woman, surnamed Kwok, gave her husband the nod of approval after being showered with a bunch of roses he bought for her.

"It was about 20 to 30 percent more expensive than in 2017," Mr Kwok said.

While flower prices were expected to rise during festive periods, Mr Kwok noticed the price hike was "a lot worse" on Valentine's than other festivals like Mother's Day.

"Apparently lovers are pricier than mothers," Mrs Kwok joked.

Many men used their lunch breaks to flock to florists to purchase roses at the last minute.

One shop said it had only three bouquets left as all the others were already pre-booked.

Meanwhile, 211 couples decided to add more meaning to the romantic occasion by getting married yesterday.

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