, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Nairobi residents are notoriously known for being last minute shoppers, be it Christmas or back-to-school shopping; and this year’s Valentine’s Day was no different.
‘Love is in the air’ as many would say.
Carol, a trader from Gladwell Flowers was among vendors located on the busy Kenyatta Avenue who cashed in on the classic last-minute shoppers on Friday.
“I’m getting many buyers – young and old – as opposed to yesterday (Thursday) and I believe I will sell more by around 5pm,” she told Capital FM News.
The Nairobi County government recently increased the fees for a daily operating license for the outdoor vendors from Sh2,000 to Sh5,000. This has in turn led to higher prices of flowers and other gift items for this year’s Valentine’s Day.
The vendors increased their price on flowers to Sh3,000 for a bouquet of roses and Sh150 per stem. This was however not a deterrent to lovers as John Mungai a florist at Nairobi’s City Market projected high sales by the end of the day.
“People are less fussy during Fridays and are willing to shop more,” he enthused.
Technomatic Toys and Gift Centre Director, N.S Mehta whose shop is located at Bruce House said the number of buyers during the Valentine’s period cannot compare to the other major festive days.
He believes that Kenyans have not developed the culture of Valentine’s Day neither are they enthusiastic. Mehta was not as positive in his outlook, saying he did not believe he would make significantly higher sales this year.
Online gift company Hampers Kenya spokesperson Ann Mwangi, shares the same sentiments, seeing that they also get more customers during other festivities and less creativity when it comes to designing and personalising the hampers.
“People are not quite free to experiment or go out of the norm,” she adds.
Her sentiments were not shared, however, by MIA Wines & Spirits International who had secured many orders for Valentine’s Day deliveries, according to director, Kalika Ruparelia.
As I walk through the busy streets of Nairobi I come across a young lady waiting to board her bus, “Valentine’s day is not only for the lovers”, says Irean a student from Nairobi University, “I would prefer to spend mine with my parents but now since they are not around I will just sleep and call it a day.”
Couples like Kurk and Amara will be spending their first Valentine Day together this year. “I would prefer to give her a personalised handmade gift…I won’t tell her what the gift is; it’s a surprise though I’m still buying her red roses and some chocolates, ” says Kurk.
Another couple, Faith and Kevin thinks that Valentine’s Day is overrated, saying they would spend theirs just like any other Friday night out, “Dinner and a night out to the club is what we are planning,” disclosed Kevin.
If you have not yet received a gift, be patient! Your loved one may be on their way with boxes of chocolate and some flowers.