- UPS expects to ship 89 million flowers – up 1 million from last year – for Valentine's Day, part of a multinational cold chain moving the highly perishable commodity from fields in Latin America to buyers in as little as two days.
- UPS has added 50 extra flights to handle more than 517,000 bloom-filled boxes through Miami International Airport, the main port of entry for 9 million pounds of flowers from places like Ecuador and Columbia, UPS said in a press release.
- Procrastinating Romeos can order Valentine's Day gifts as late as Feb. 13 and use UPS Next Day Air Service to avoid any supply chain based relationship problems.
While Cupid's arrow may get the credit for bringing people together, those relationships could get off to a rocky start without UPS delivering serious flower power.
The complex supply chain for the annual Valentine's Day rush typically begins about a year ahead of time. Major players like FTD source containers and vases as well as flowers nine to 12 months ahead to ensure supply.
The UPS flower supply chain begins in the colorful growing fields of Latin America, where flowers are picked and packed for shipment. Temperature-controlled planes and trucks keep the flowers crisp and cool during the journey. Once on the ground in Miami the flowers are offloaded from planes into a refrigerated warehouse cooler the size of about five basketball courts for customs inspection.
From there, flower distributors pick up the flowers for delivery. Overnight delivery services move the flowers to stores to be made into arrangements or packaged into bundles. A growing number of flowers are moving direct to consumers for home delivery.
Overall, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $20.7 billion on Valentine's Day gifts, and about $1.9 billion of that represents flowers, according to the National Retail Federation. Valentine's Day is the top holiday for consumer purchase of flowers, counting for 30% of transactions and 28% of dollar volume, according to the Society of American Florists