Date
24 November 2017
Hong Kong's flower merchants typically work overnight to meet orders on Valentine’s Day. But this year, they are expecting no such frenetic action.  Photo: Internet
Hong Kong's flower merchants typically work overnight to meet orders on Valentine’s Day. But this year, they are expecting no such frenetic action. Photo: Internet

Why Valentine’s Day this year is like no other

Valentine’s Day this year happens to fall on a Saturday and that’s bad news for florists.

Most office women, arguably the biggest market for Valentine flowers, are expected to be off work on that day, potentially dampening sales.

Hong Kong florists, for instance, expect business to fall by half because of the bad timing.

But if nothing else, this would be a welcome break for flower shop employees who typically work overnight to meet orders on the big day. They could be home early.

To complicate matters, Lunar New Year comes just after Valentine’s Day.

That means people are likely to divide spending between the two shopping holidays.

But the biggest fear among Hong Kong florists is that the Lunar New Year is sucking the air out of their business, according to Ming Pao Daily.

Think holidays, for instance. Many Hong Kong holidaymakers, the kind of consumers that buy flowers for any occasion, should already have made plans to spend the long Lunar New Year weekend abroad.

Those with longer plans might have already left, in which case they will spend Valentine’s Day abroad and buy flowers there.

A purchase made elsewhere is a loss to Hong Kong florists. 

Ko Yin-ping, marketing manager of Brighten Floriculture in the Mong Kok flower market, is predicting weak Valentine’s Day sales.

She sees prices holding steady, with a bouquet of 11 roses fetching about HK$1,500 (US$193).

On the other hand, the catering and hospitality industry is expected to post record sales during the weekend.

Ocean Park is offering a VIP package in which lovers can enjoy two meals and close encounters with dolphins for HK$5,000.

The theme park said the program is well received and there are only a few seats left.

Chow Chi-hong, operations manager of the Royal Garden catering service, said dinner packages are priced 3 percent to 5 percent higher this year.

He expects a full house on Saturday at their Italian and Japanese restaurants where set dinners cost HK$3,588 and HK$1,788, respectively.

Finally, luxury hotels will be home to wealthier lovers for a day or two.

A spokesperson for W Hotel said bookings are up 7 percent from last year and expects all rooms to be taken this weekend.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

RA

EJ Insight writer

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