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The flower and supplies shortage of 2022 - 2023 is an unprecedented event in our industry. There’s a lot to know about the shortage and we’re sure that you, like many, have questions. We’re here to break it down and explain what’s going on. Keep reading to learn more.
You’re likely wondering how we even got in this position in the first place. There are 5 major factors at play that led to this unprecedented flowers and supplies shortage.
1. Global Pandemic Impacted Flower Farms
First, one of the contributing factors to the flower shortage is that fewer plantings occurred in 2020 due to the pandemic. Flower farms destroyed tons of flowers due to the pandemic, since many of them shut down for quarantine. A lot of other farms laid off workers or shut down completely.
As of December 2020, the U.S. floral industry employment number was at 5.64 million, which is its lowest level in the past seven years according to the National Association of Wholesale Distributors. That means that 247,717 jobs in the floral industry were lost between 2019 and December 2020. Since there were fewer flower farms open and many were operating at a diminished capacity, fewer flowers were planted and harvested for upcoming seasons. That, plus the increased demand, is what’s resulting in this severe shortage.
As demand began to surge once people began planning events again, many flower farms even had trouble finding workers. They struggled to have the appropriate staff to bundle flowers and load them into trucks properly, which meant they were left to die in the heat.
2. The Wedding Boom – Causing Increased Demand for Flowers
There’s a wedding boom going on right now. The U.S. Wedding Report reported that a predicted 1.93 an astounding 2.47 million would happen in 2022. That’s up from 1.3 weddings in 2020. In part, this is the case because a large number of weddings were rescheduled from 2020 and 2021.
Since there are so many weddings happening in 2022 and 2023, it creates a huge demand for flowers. Demand for flowers is so high that buyers aren’t even able to ask for specific flowers or flowers in colors of their choosing. Instead, florists can request merely a general color palette. White flowers are particularly hard to come by.
3. Shipping Issues – Causing Flower Shortages
The trucking issues facing other retail items is a big factor for flowers and supplies as well. There is a shortage of truck drivers and competition for these drivers from high margin industries.
Flying flowers into the country has also been an issue. “Flowers are not a lucrative commodity and therefore the cargo planes normally flying flowers are flying goods from Asia. And there are fewer passenger flights that typically carry flowers [using their extra cargo space],” says Williee Armellini, Editor of Flowers & Cents.
4. Poor Growing Conditions Globally
Less than ideal weather has hurt the floral industry. Growing conditions in South America, where most U.S. flowers are sourced from, have been difficult. Colder nights and an influx of rain negatively affected the harvest of healthy flowers.
U.S. flower farms also had weather issues that affected supply. For instance, California is responsible for three-quarters of U.S. cut flower sales. This state has struggled with historic droughts, unpredictable rain, and wildfires. This has caused flower farm owners in the area to have to both have diminished crops and have to shift focus in the types of flowers they were growing to accommodate the altered conditions.
5. People Are Loving Flowers and Flower Demand
All of the above is happening just as consumer interest in flowers has caught fire. Americans have been nesting at home and have been separated from loved ones for over a year. As a result, the beautiful products that we sell have seen a spike in demand. That is excellent news and something we hope will be sustained. The challenge, of course, is that the spiking demand for flowers is occurring at precisely the time when flower supply is in a trough.
This perfect storm of conditions has led to the historic flower shortage that we’re currently experiencing.
As one of the oldest local floral and event studio in Laguna Beach and Orange County, we have strong long lasting relationships with our flower growers, wholesales and suppliers. We are confident that we are well-positioned to compete for great flowers and best quality supplies. That said, everyone in the industry is affected by the conditions described above. So, we want you to know that while we will do everything in our power to fill orders precisely as we have taken them, there will be a need for flexibility concerning substitutions or similar quality flowers or supplies such as vessels. We can guarantee that we will make every effort to be 100% on the mark, but we know the situation will make it difficult for us and our floral industry friends and partners to achieve that goal. We also know that flowers and supplies will be more expensive for us to purchase from our farms and vendors until this supply-demand imbalance returns to normal. So, we ask that you bear with us as we strive to provide outstanding quality flowers at the access to all prices we hold as an essential cornerstone of our brand values as we move through this unusual period. We will be communicating proactively during this time, as always. We hope that this resurgence in our customers' love of having beautiful flowers continues and looks forward to a more normal supply level in the months ahead.