The Supply and Demand of Roses for Valentine’s Day

| February 12, 2018
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The sticker shock of sending roses for Valentine’s Day can be a doozey. Yet, few consider the supply chain factors that all add up to create these higher costs.

Starting with the growers, special steps are taken with flowers slated for V-Day. The stems of these plants are cut back, so that normally productive plants are delayed by 10-12 weeks to be timed appropriately for the holiday. This hiatus in productivity for these plants results in losses for the grower. Then, because of the sharp spike in buds, all timed for February 14th additional labor is necessary to harvest the larger bounty. This increase in demand for labor is often met by hiring temporary labor, and the cost of this additional work force is passed on to the consumer, along with the costs of the previously unproductive stems.

The next factor effecting rose costs on Valentine’s Day, are those related to shipping. The additional shipping volume devoted to flowers is expensive, as is the additional labor that becomes necessary as a flow through effect. The logistics of producing and delivering roughly 198 million roses for a single day holiday are costly. Interestingly enough, Valentine’s Day is the only flower centric holiday that occurs on the same day world-wide, thus not only U.S., but international demand influences prices.

Some vendors charge up to seven times their normal price leading up to the holiday. All of the previous factors contribute to their ability to do this, as well as simple supply and demand. No one wants to be the schmuck who forgot to order flowers, adding significantly more buyers to the rose market than at other times of the year

Wholesalers usually charge a premium for red roses, over other colors. And in fact all red flowers are sold at higher prices during this time period, however, according to, women prefer pink. Despite all the cost machinations, Americans spent roughly 2 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day flowers in 2016.

As it turns out “a rose by another other name would smell as sweet”, and would also cost a lot less on Valentine’s Day.

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