Florists witness rise in sales on V-Day

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Valentine's Day turned out profitable for florists, with one flower chain even recording Rs.5 crore business this year. Roses, especially red ones, remained the top choice of lovebirds.

"The business was much better than last year. We received 50,000 orders for Feb 14, and the orders peaked on Feb 13," Pawan Gadia, CEO, Ferns N Petals, told IANS.

The popular flower chain, said to occupy a market share of 15 to 20 percent, minted Rs.5 crore -- 35 percent of this came from the online medium, while the remaining was through their retail outlets spread in 400 cities across 150 countries.

Overall, for the brand, the online business this year saw a growth of 60 percent, and offline business witness a 25 percent hike. Central and west India emerged as the growing markets this year for Ferns N Petals, while tier II and tier III regions contributed heavily to the revenue this year for them.

"The business was very much as expected," said Gadia, who estimated that the entire flower market could have minted Rs.25 crore this Valentine's season.

The figures were good for online flower delivery site phoolmandi.com, which had arrangements available in a range as wide as Rs.395 to Rs.23,000.

"There has been a hike of eight to 10 percent this year, with a revenue of Rs.450,000, which is far better then the revenue last year. In 2012, we made Rs.380,000," Rohit Nath, owner, phoolmandi.com, told IANS.

Red roses coupled with cakes was a hit choice for his portals' customers.

According to S. Jafar Naqvi, president, Indian Flowers and Ornamental Plants Welfare Association (iFlora), "overall business was good in terms of volume".

"There was diversification in terms of flower use and also wider utilisation in terms of colour and varieties. Both for wholesale and retail, the business was better than last year," Naqvi told IANS.

"Delhi got good business as it is one of the largest consumer market, and other metropolitan cities did well too," added Naqvi, who said the Delhi-NCR region is likely to have at least 10,000 retailers.

The floriculture industry in India is worth about Rs.3,700 crore (about $696 million) and roses account for over Rs.2,400 crore (about $451 million), as per a study by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

The same industry body has valued the Valentine's Day (V-Day) market in India at $27 million (Rs.15,000 crore), based on a recent survey.

Around Valentine's Day festivities, which begin a week in advance with Rose Day Feb 7, the demand for roses, specifically red ones, goes up. It is considered indicative of love and respect. No wonder the flower's price skyrockets to as much as Rs.25-Rs.30, almost double the regular price of Rs.12-Rs.15, during this period.

Online florist portals cashed in on the day by offering special packages - flowers with teddy bears, cakes or chocolates - to woo lovers, who are willing to spend lavishly to make their special someone feel loved.

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