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Valentine's Day: When Flowers Have Power

February 13, 1988|Deborrah Wilkinson

Florist Transworld Delivery--known as FTD--delivered 564,300 Valentine's Day orders last year, totaling $14.8 million in sales. According to Judy Yovanovich, manager of public relations, FTD's orders are projected to increase by 10,000 this year.

Many local florists and flowers-by-wire services agree that Valentine's week has become one of the fastest-growing flower-giving occasions. In terms of annual wire sales, Valentine's Day ranks third, preceded by Christmas and Mother's Day. Fourth place goes to Easter, followed by Thanksgiving. Although Secretary's Week has grown in popularity, purchases are made locally.

A random survey of 650 Valentine's flower buyers conducted by FTD found that 55% of purchasers were men. About 82% were between the ages of 25 and 44, with yearly incomes exceeding $25,000. Flowers were purchased by 86%, and plants by the rest. Nearly 70% of buyers attended college.

Men shop at the last minute and usually visit flower shops in person, while women are more likely to order by phone and to send flowers-by-wire gifts to Valentines out-of-town, Yovanovich said. The FTD survey also indicated that most Valentine's flower gifts are sent to homes. But office deliveries are growing, reflecting the increases in the number of working women and flower gifts to men.

A two-year study by Teleflora, another flower wire service, involved 3,000 consumers. It indicated that 85% of women and men preferred to receive a floral bouquet or plant in a keepsake gift container. Men ordered 65% of all Valentine's purchases last year and feel more secure buying familiar flowers, such as roses or carnations.

According to research conducted by Teleflora and the Society of American Florists, the red rose accounts for 25% of total sales in the average flower shop for Valentine's Day. At this time of year, the price of roses averages $2.63 a stem, as opposed to $1.83 in July, when supplies are plentiful. (Conroy's Florists spokesman Kerry Donovan, however, puts the price of a dozen long-stemmed red roses at between $50 and $70 around Valentine's Day.) Nearly 630 million cut rose stems are sold in the United States every year, according to Drew Gruenberg, SAF spokesman.

San Lorenzo Wholesale Nursery-Orange County Division supplies flowers and plants to at least 100 local florists and 50 in Riverside County. According to Al Roach, assistant manager, a single rose takes three to four months to grow. The nursery grows about 150,000 long-stemmed roses annually. However, only an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 stems will be available this Valentine's Day because of recent weather conditions. On a weekly basis, the nursery provides florists with 30 to 50 boxes of carnations. Each box contains 1,000 loose flowers. Cupid's high demand is expected to boost the number of boxes up to 100.

Sources: World Book Encyclopedia; Teleflora; Society of American Florists; San Lorenzo Wholesale Nursery-Orange County Division; Conroy's Florists.

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