If the world sometimes seems cold and heartless, filled with animus and divide, take heart.
By at least one measure, the Covid-19 pandemic has made us more loving and kind. That measure is flowers.
In fact, it has made those of us on the spending side so loving and kind, we have been willing to be more, ahem, “giving,” a term to which we can all relate in these assuredly inflationary times.
Here’s how I know:
By tonnage, over the course of the last two decades, eight of the 10 biggest months for fresh-cut flower imports into the United States have occurred since January of 2021. That’s over a period of more than 230 months.
The biggest of all? This April, the month before Mother’s Day.
It’s not just Mother’s Day, of course.
Four of those top 10 were in January, in preparation for Valentine’s Day the following month, with two each in February, April and May.
It’s not just tonnage, either. Eight of the 10 most expensive months for flower imports also occurred since January of 2020.
The biggest month by value on the import side?
Sorry, but that was also April. In April, the United States imported $281.68 million in fresh-cut flowers, largely roses arriving from Colombia into Miami International Airport.
Let me go on the record and say that our moms were worth every penny/ All 281,678,546 — well, I don’t know the actual pennies, but you get the idea.
For the record, that is an impressive 21.04% increase over the previous April, a fair comparison for this highly seasonal import.
It’s a more impressive 61.78% increase over April of 2019, prior to the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Remember how everything shut down that first spring of the pandemic, in March and April of 2020? The April 2022 total is 125.34% greater than in April of 2020, when few flights were flying not only into MIA but airports the world over. And those that were, well, they were expensive — it was the sixth most expensive month in two decades on a pound-for-pound basis.
But back to the present.
If you were on the spending side and are looking for a little consolation, pound for pound — dividing value by tonnage — you got a slightly better deal in April than in four other months, according to my analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.
If you procrastinated and waited until the arrival of those May flowers, well, you made out like a bandit, relatively speaking. There were 25 months over the last two decades where the flowers were more expensive, pound for pound.
In the spirit of ending this on a happy note, there really hasn’t been that much inflation in the price of imported flowers in the last two year. Yes, more tonnage, as established. And, of course, a higher overall value.
But on a pound-for-pound basis, imported flowers actually cost 1.38% less in May of this year than in January of 2020. That’s right before most of us ever heard the term Covid-19 uttered.