Thinking about buying someone flowers for Valentine’s Day? You better hurry, because prices only get more expensive the closer you get to Feb. 14.
According to a study by the deal-hunting site Brad’s Deals, you’ll score the lowest price for roses (by the dozen, of course) in the middle of the summer, when they cost an average of $32 when ordered from one of the five big delivery brands. Contrast that with the peak average price—$49.98 in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Depending on supply and demand, that can spike to nearly $100 (before delivery fees!) when purchased as a last-minute order on the actual day.
While it may seem like a classic case of overcharging simply for the sake of it, it’s an issue of satisfying demand. After all, Valentine’s Day is only 24 hours long. “It’s not like the flower sellers can just call the factory and tell them to crank up production,” writes Rebecca Lehmann for the Brad’s Deals blog. “The flowers need to be harvested and transported, often from far-flung (warmer) places, just in time to get them to customers in a very specific one-day window.”
Order while you can
The bad news: It’s too late to save a bundle on a dozen red roses, as the report says that ordering around Jan. 15 can help you snag the lowest prices of the season. Nevertheless, the sooner you order, the less likely you are to pay the top-dollar prices the last-minute shoppers will shoulder.
The National Retail Federation expects people celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant other to spend an average $101.21 each year. Don’t let flower delivery costs eat up more of that budget than absolutely necessary.
How to keep costs down
Many retailers are offering coupon codes or other discounts if you order now. Another strategy to keep costs low is to skip roses for a different kind of flower that’s a little less on the nose for Valentine’s Day. Also, you can save money by scheduling those roses for delivery a day or two ahead of Valentine’s Day, as many services mark up fees for delivery on that particularly busy day.
This story was originally published in 2020 and updated on Feb. 5, 2021 with new information and updated context.