A calendar cultural divide had a significantly negative impact on Hong Kong florists and Mong Kok Chinese New Year flower markets.
HONG KONG, March 22, 2021 /Neptune100/ — Recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong have hit local florists hard. Generally, Valentine’s Day sees a surge in demand for bouquets in Hong Kong. It is the time when colleagues show their love with beautiful bouquets at work. However, this year things didn’t happen the same way. In addition to the pandemic situation and government measures to control the spread of infection, the eastern and western calendars have aligned to make the situation even more difficult.
The Chinese New Year was on February 12 and Valentine’s Day is always celebrated on February 14. With this inauspicious scenario of the lunar calendar, Valentine’s Day turned out to be the third day of Chinese New Year which is the “Chi Kou Ri” or the red mouth day. On this inauspicious day, people refrain from going out or sending gifts to their loved ones. Older generations traditionally call this day “Chi Gou Ri” or red dog because it is believed that a red dog brings a bad omen on this day. As a result, people stay home and don’t greet their friends and family. If a person steps out and encounters a red dog, this can ruin his or her day by bringing never-ending misfortune.
This cultural divide had a significantly negative impact on Hong Kong florists says Mr. John Wong, the owner of Give Gift Boutique: “Why would anyone give flowers to a loved one on a day for quarreling. It’s a recipe for disaster!” This has considerably depressed the sale of flowers and luxury gift items on Valentine’s Day when demand for it was supposed to be at its peak.
Another factor that has scaled down the demand for bouquets is the teleworking system that has become commonplace since the onset of the pandemic. Colleagues are not coming to the office physically to interact with others. Telework has given them the freedom to work from home and greet each other using different digital mediums.
Added to all of that, the government policies disrupted the sales for florists in Hong Kong. Usually, flowers form an important gift in the Chinese New Year. During this time of year, the famous flower markets of Mong Kok come alive with exquisite collections of flowers and designer bouquets. However, this year the Government canceled the celebration to prevent crowded gatherings. This also led to the closure of the market.
With the traditional demand for bouquets and gifts at this time of the year disrupted by the pandemic along with bad luck with the East and West calendars, florists in Hong Kong came up with an innovative idea to reach customers with pop-up shops. These shops were able to cater to people and make it easier for them to send flowers and gifts to their friends and family whom they could not visit due to government-imposed rules to control the number of Covid cases. Florists worked hard and a number of extra hours of overtime to meet the demand to ensure every order was delivered perfectly.
The continued period of restriction results in a steep drop in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong. This caused the government to lift the imposed ban on celebrations and the flower market of Mong Kok was reopened.
With this quick change of situations, there was a sudden change in supply and demand. The demand for bouquets and gifts was steady, the supply of flowers increased dramatically. This adversely affected the business of florists in Hong Kong.
According to John Wong, “The last-minute reversal meant there was not only an oversupply of flowers now, leading to waste; but also to make ends meet, the florists were stuck selling the bouquets at near cost because of the sudden competition.”
Despite all of their hard work, the florists have seen their revenue and profits drop considerably because of the pandemic and timing of the calendars. Like many small businesses in Hong Kong and around the world, the last year has been incredibly challenging for Give Gift Boutique. However, they are thankful for all of their customers and the opportunity to provide so many people with a splash of color and hope from beautiful flowers and hampers to brighten the lives of thousands of recipients during this pandemic and for years to come.
Give Gift Boutique Flower Shop and Boutique is a leading Hong Kong florist and gift shop serving corporate clients and individuals. Relying on the expertise of expat florists from the Netherlands and Toronto, Give Gift delivers top-quality gifts, hampers, and bouquets keeping up with the latest European and Japanese designs.