Currently, this East African Nation is the third-largest producer of cut flowers in the world after Colombia and Ecuador.
The downtown section of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, was a burst of the classic red color Sunday as traders strewed their wares on every available empty space, eager to profit from Valentine's Day sales.
"Before moving to the digital space last year, I sold from my store in Nairobi's Westlands district. When the health crisis came upon us, the importance of an online presence became apparent," said Mercy Mwende, a long-time florist, confessed that she would not be selling her wares from the streets and for the second year in a row, online.
Customarily, Valentine's Day attracts vendors eager to sell endearing items to those committed to honoring their loved ones on this special day. And this year is no different; perhaps more striking is how much the online marketplace is teeming with these niche traders.
The giant Chinese e-commerce platform Kilimall has for instance been running Valentine's Day sales since the start of the month, offering between 50 to 70 percent discount on a selected range of products. Similarly, online market entities such as Jumia, Jambo, and Jiji have comparable discounted items. Furthermore, it is not just multinational platforms that traders are utilizing, social media sites are proving indispensable in creating visibility.
"Generally on such a day, a single stem of red rose will go for about US$1.75 while a bouquet ranges between US$13 and US$31. I charge an additional fee for deliveries depending on the recipient's destination," said the adept florist.
In 2020, 16 million Kenyans shopped online and spent US$1.1 billion dollars. Similarly, e-commerce development across Sub-Sahara Africa registered a 42 percent growth from 2019 to 2020. The growth is poised to rise even further as the world becomes increasingly digitized.
Kenya was listed among the top three leading contributors of digital commerce in the report produced by Visa. In a rather odd approach, goods that hold no romantic attachment by conventional standards are being sold online under the Valentine's Day theme. Such goods include plots of land and home appliances such as gas cookers.
Currently, the East African Nation is the third-largest producer of cut flowers in the world after Colombia and Ecuador. Kenyan cut flowers find their way to more than 60 destinations globally, with the European Market accounting for 48 percent market share.