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Florists see wilting demand this Chinese Yew Year

SINGAPORE — As the Chinese New Year nears, some florists have said that they are seeing lower demand for festive flowers. Smaller shops are the hardest hit, with some reporting a 30 to 40 per cent slump in sales compared to previous years, due to the economic slowdown and anxiety over mosquito-borne diseases.

SINGAPORE — As the Chinese New Year nears, some florists have said that they are seeing lower demand for festive flowers. Smaller shops are the hardest hit, with some reporting a 30 to 40 per cent slump in sales compared to previous years, due to the economic slowdown and anxiety over mosquito-borne diseases.

One retailer, Golden Roc Florists, said fewer people are buying flowers this year, with sales during the Chinese New Year period down by a third, compared to previous years.

They cite the fear of mosquito breeding as a reason, especially since the family-run shop in an HDB estate is near two dengue clusters in Serangoon.

“Generally, sales have gone down by more than 30 per cent. This is due to several factors – at the moment, we are facing an economic downturn, and people are prioritising their spending probably on food and probably on clothing. So as far as the luxurious items are concerned, they have (had) to tighten their belts,” said Mr Bernard Chiang, a partner of Golden Roc Florist.

Mr Chiang added that sales could have slumped as some traditional Chinese New Year plants can be potential breeding spots for mosquitoes. “And now that we know the number of (dengue) cases has gone up, and with the arrival of a new disease Zika, people are more frightened,” he said.

Larger florists, like Katong Flower Shop, also have not been spared. The shop, together with other bigger nurseries, cater for both individual and corporate customers, but they are still seeing a 15 to 20 per cent fall in sales.

Aside from the poor economy, the shop said it is also because younger Singaporeans want something different, like more practical plants.

“Traditionally, a lot of customers (would buy) New Year plants, and now that has changed. The younger generation, they think of buying some plants which can last for years, not only for Chinese New Year. So after that, they still can keep the plant,” said Mr Royston Low, Managing Director, Katong Flower Shop.

Some nurseries are trying to adapt to these new trends.

The Nyee Phoe Group has opened a pop-up store at Paragon. While the group is seeing a 10 per cent dip in sales so far, it said innovative concepts like these has helped it to make sales, despite the economic slowdown.

“People are getting more house-proud nowadays; younger ones want something more trendy. We try to innovate, to get customised pots, designer pots, to ensure that even though it may be the same flower, but it looks so different with just a little touch to it, and all you need is just that one statement,” said Mr Kenng Eng, Director, The Nyee Phoe Group.

Florists hope for a final boost in sales this weekend, as Singaporeans rush to decorate their homes before Chinese New Year. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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