newsflorists smelling the roses with record sales predicted on valentines day

Florists smelling the roses with record sales predicted on Valentine’s Day

Crystal Graham
bouquet of red roses
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The floral industry has rebounded since the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen record sales in 2021 and 2022 with no signs of slowing down this year.

“Our projection is that in 2023 we will have record sales specifically for Valentine’s Day,” said Barbara Leshyn, a floral design instructor for Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. “The industry was highly affected by the 2020 pandemic. People stopped getting married, people stopped having graduations, they stopped having big conferences, or any type of meeting where you would need flowers. People lost jobs, from the grower, to shipping, to wholesale, to retail.”

Florists have a lot to look forward to this Valentine’s Day, with the National Retail Federation predicting that consumers will spend a record $25.9 billion, and that 37 percent of those shoppers will buy flowers.

In 2019, people in the United States bought 250 million roses to give on Valentine’s Day. The next year, during the lockdown, demand was so low that growers in South American who supply American florists and supermarkets couldn’t sell their crops and had to burn them.

Leshyn said the floral industry is doing even better now than it was before COVID-19 arrived.

In 2021, the industry rapidly ramped up to meet demand and ended up clearing $6 billion in sales, a new record. That figure includes both cut flowers and potted plants one buys for home gardens.

Breaking out flowers alone, florists made $360 million in sales as opposed to $220 million in 2019, according to the Society for American Florists. Though final figures for 2022 are not yet available, they are likely to be even higher, Leshyn said.

“Valentine’s Day shoppers will see prices higher than they were in 2019, but on par with prices from 2022,” said Leshyn. “Though the European floral industry has been affected negatively by recession and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. market’s ties to South America provide security.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.