The Dutch market share in global exports has fallen behind the combined market share of Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and Ethiopia for the first time, according to a survey by Rabobank and Royal FloraHolland on international trends and import and export movements. The results were published in the World Floriculture Map 2016.

Ever since Rabobank first published the World Floriculture Map in 2005, the Dutch share of global cut flower exports has been in decline. That share currently stands at 43%, whereas ten years ago it was 50%. In 2015, the combined exports of the four rising stars, namely Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and Ethiopia, overtook the Netherlands for the first time. Their combined cut flower exports now account for 44% of global exports. Just two years ago, that share was 33%, whereas in 2005 it was only 25%.
Although these four countries’ exports tend to be centred around roses, Colombia does have a fairly wide range of products. It is now the largest exporter of chrysanthemums, and the second largest exporter of carnations. Even so, it remains a challenge for these equatorial countries to grow and export cut flowers, despite their low production costs, favourable climates, large farms and increasing efficiency and quality. There is barely any domestic market, and producers face problems with insufficient air freight capacity, high transport costs, currency instability and tense political and social conditions, according to the authors of the report.

Floriculture in motion

The report also mentions the following recent developments:
• the online sale of ornamental plants is on the rise, while garden centres and florists in Europe are under pressure
• the US floriculture market is recovering, but the global market remains vulnerable
• imports of cut flowers in Russia are decreasing
• The Netherlands will remain a major player in international floriculture, but Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and Ethiopia are catching up in terms of cut flowers
• Colombia is striding ahead, and has become a leader in the market of cut flowers transported by sea container

The new era will be greatly affected by global geopolitics, because of increasing protectionism and a difficult trading environment. Other influences include rapid digitisation, and the increasing importance of sustainability in floriculture. Floriculture companies can hold on to their positions as market leaders by preparing themselves for the unexpected. They can defend themselves against all the various future scenarios by being strong but flexible. In addition, businesses can seize opportunities in other markets, move their procurement to other countries or regions, expand their marketing to digital channels, and set up their supply chains to be more sustainable.

Read the full report or download the World Floriculture Map 2016 here (infographic).

Source/infographic: Rabobank.