Valentines Day 2016 was another record year for the Colombian flower Industry with over 500 million flowers exported to North America to celebrate the day of lovers. This ratifies Colombia as the second largest cut flower supplier in the world and the largest supplier of cut roses in the U.S.
Fifty-one years ago, the first batch of Colombian flower stems were shipped to Miami, FL marking the beginning of a long outstanding trajectory for the Colombian flower industry. Since then, the demand has not slowed down and has kept major international airports busy all year round with the single most important cargo - flowers.
Colombia’s flower exports have grown steadily 4% for the past five years. Christmas, Mothers Day and Valentine’s Day are some of the peak holidays for the industry that exports close to 80% of its production to the United States and Canada. Product diversity, high quality and short transit times due to Colombia’s proximity to North America are among the key competitive attributes of the Colombian industry.
In 2015, Colombia exported around US$1 Billion to the US, where 12% of sales were driven by Valentine’s Day. The 2016 outlook is even brighter because Colombia is 39% more affordable for US and Canadian buyers due to their stronger currency. In addition, as a result of Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with both countries, it guarantees zero import-duty, making it even more attractive and accessible to import flowers.
Colombia’s stunning flowers are mostly roses, followed by Carnations and Chrysanthemums; however, its diverse portfolio includes more than 50 species. The New Year’s Rose Parade, the Academy Awards, several movie premieres includingValentine’s Day, Sex and the City 2 and Remember Me, are some of the many events that featured Colombian flowers due to its beauty and high quality.
According to the USDA over 26,000 traditional florist retailers and wholesalers source 60% of their products from Colombia. In addition, supermarket chains with an established flower distribution channel such us Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, Wholefoods, Albertson’s, and Costco have an overall market share of 50% and source most of their flowers from Colombia.